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Table 1 Themes and categories related to beliefs and practices associated with the SGH

From: An exploration of cultural beliefs and practices across the Southern Ground-Hornbill’s range in Africa

Theme Category Verbatim examples
Bringer/signifier of death/ destruction/ loss/ deprivation Bad omen of evil spirits “The SGH is the carrier of dead souls… and particularly those of angry, avenging or ancestral spirits.”
Announcing calamities (death and destruction) “An SGH perched on top of a person’s roof, or in or near a community’s village, is a sign of death…”
Protective influence Protection against evil spirits “I ground it up, burn and use the ash which I rubbed into incisions in my joints. It makes me strong to withstand the onslaughts of evil spirits.”
Protection against lightning “We use it to protect our property against lightning.”
Protection against food shortages When we use the bird we know that rain will follow
Enables or causes altered perceptions Remote viewing The bird is a predictor. It can stand here and it will know what is happening in Soweto (a nearby township where most market-goers reside).”
Foreseeing the future The bird helps us to find food, like honey and small antelope
Creating an illusion We use it to increase the weight of our harvested crops
Timekeeper Working day It tells us when to wake up or go to bed.
Change in season “If we see that bird, it means that it is going to rain…this means we must prepare our field to plant our crops.”