The animal on the cover of Programming iOS 4 is a kingbird, one of the 13 species of North American songbirds making up the genus Tyrannus. A group of kingbirds is called a “coronation,” a “court,” or a “tyranny.”
Kingbirds eat insects, which they often catch in flight, swooping from a perch to grab the insect midair. They may also supplement their diets with berries and fruits. They have long, pointed wings, and males perform elaborate aerial courtship displays.
Both the genus name (meaning “tyrant” or “despot”) and the common name (“kingbird”) refer to these birds’ aggressive defense of their territories, breeding areas, and mates. They have been documented attacking red-tailed hawks (which are more than twenty times their size), knocking bluejays out of trees, and driving away crows and ravens. (For its habit of standing up to much larger birds, the gray kingbird has been adopted as a Puerto Rican nationalist symbol.)
“Kingbird” most often refers to the Eastern kingbird (T. tyrannus), an average-size kingbird (7.5–9 inches long, wingspan 13–15 inches) found all across North America. This common and widespread bird has a dark head and back, with a white throat, chest, and belly. Its red crown patch is rarely seen. Its high-pitched, buzzing, stuttering sounds have been described as resembling “sparks jumping between wires” or an electric fence.
The cover image is from Cassell’s Natural History. The cover font is Adobe ITC Garamond. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading ...