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The bird featured on the cover of Programming with Qt, Second Edition, is a toucan. Thirty-eight species of toucans thrive in tropical America, from southern Mexico to Bolivia and northern Argentina. The toucan’s most obvious feature is its bill. The male toco toucan sports the biggest bill of all, reaching a size of nearly ten inches-longer than its body without its tail. While the bill is surprisingly lightweight, it is so out of proportion with the bird’s body that the bird seems handicapped during flight, for which it uses bursts of frenzied flapping to produce short glides.
While the toucan’s bill may be useful to reach berries or seeds from twigs too thin to bear the bird’s weight, a thinner and less vividly colored bill would serve the same purpose. However, the bill’s size and color may function as an attractor during courtship displays.
Hornbills, which can be found in Africa and Asia, have similar bills, but these birds are not related to toucans. Toucans are related to woodpeckers, with whom they have something special in common: feet with two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backward.
Toucans primarily eat fruit, but they also like insects, frogs, lizards, as well as eggs and nestlings of smaller birds. They ...