Book details

128 Pages
Publication date: October 2017
Imprint: Ecowin
Friedrich Orter

The Kabul Bird Trader

On the old bird market in Kabul, Afghanistan all sorts of birds are sold and bought. This is the place where members of numerous Afghan tribes meet – it’s an island of peace. Friedrich Orter reports from this special place that allows us to take an unusual and wonderful look at a world entirely out of joint.

The canary bird brightens one’s mood, the quail calms the heart. What is being put up for sale on the bird market in Kabul are more than pets, more than livestock. Falcons, partridges or canary birds are a cultural expression of a region steeped in tradition.

This oasis of unscathed calm amidst a crisis-torn city is where one encounters the bird traders. Through their eyes, one sees the colorful variety of languages, traditions, and customs. In their words, one learns the great story of the relationship between bird and man, established by an Indian mogul in the 15th century.

Friedrich Orter accompanies one of the bird traders. He experiences his daily life, explores the history of the place, and in doing so, he tells a piece of global history. And he offers an unusual look at a culture and a way of life, that is granted to but a few.


»A kind of one-man CNN.«
Paul Lendvai

»Just as in his television reporting, Orter’s writing reveals him to be a skilful chronicler of our times with a social conscience and humanitarian agenda, far removed from the quest for sound bites.«
Der Standard


English manuscript

Sample Translation


Friedrich Orter

Friedrich Orter, born in 1949, reported for the ORF, the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, from 14 wars and was frequently posted to the Near and Middle East – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. His last foreign assignment lead him into the civil war in Syria. After his return, Orter ended his career at the ORF. That same year, he received a lifetime award for his work at the »Journalist of the Year«-Awards.

Today, Friedrich Orter lives in Vienna and works as a freelance journalist and author.