I’ve been interested in this greek myth for ages, Halcyon (genus) is the name for kingfishers. There was a belief yonks ago that kingfishers make their nests on the sea, floating about like little islands. For their eggs to survive a period of calm weather either side of the winter solstice was needed. So the term “Halcyon” is used for a period of peace and calmness.
The birds are named after Alcyone. Ceyx was her lover, they were keen on fooling around and called each other jokingly and in affection Zeus and Hera after the gods. This upset the Gods and enraged they drowned Ceyx while he went of in his boat to see the oracle about some other matter. He appeared in a vision to Alcyone and described his fate to her. She, in a fit of grief pitched herself into the ocean and also drowned.
Now the Gods felt that perhaps they’d gone to far, so they changed them both into Halcyon birds. Aeolus, god of the winds held back the wind for a period of 7 days either side of the winter Solstice so Alcyone as a kingfisher could lay her eggs in saftey.
This drawing below (currently in progress) is the moment that they are starting to change into kingfishers. I like the Metamorphosis part of the story, I want to make it look calm and not to Franz Kafka or painful in any way.