The animal on the cover of Learning iPhone Programming is a lapwing (Vanellus vanellus),
also known as a northern lapwing, a peewit, or a green plover. This wading bird
is 11–13 inches long with a 26–28 inch wingspan, a black crest, and rounded wings.
Although its plumage is predominantly black and white, the upperparts are metallic
green or bronze. The name lapwing may refer to the sound its wings make in flight, to
its erratic flight pattern, or to its practice of pretending to have a broken wing in order
to fool predators. The name peewit mimics the sound of its call. One of the lapwing’s
unique habits is the tumbling flight performed by the male during breeding season: it
flies up, wheels, darts down, and climbs again, all while making its shrill cry.
The lapwing is common throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, and Asia, and
occasionally makes its way to Alaska and Canada. It has an extensive range and may
winter as far south as Africa, India, and China. The lapwing migrates in large flocks,
which can be found on farmland, pastures, and wetlands searching for worms and
Lapwing populations have declined since the 1980s, as the species has been affected
by intensive agricultural practices, increases in grazing density, and climate change. It
is now protected in the European Union, although parts of the Netherlands still enjoy
the traditional hunt for the first lapwing egg of the year, thought to be a herald of spring.
This hunt is allowed only from March 1 to April 9, and the actual collection of eggs is
prohibited by law.