(Cinclus cinclus)

Alert Status: Amber – 30% decline


Identifying Features: The dipper is a short-tailed, plump bird with a low, whirring flight. When perched on a rock it habitually bobs up and down and frequently cocks its tail. Its white throat and breast contrasts with its dark body plumage. It is remarkable in its method of walking into and under water in search of food
Average Length: 18 cm
Average Lifespan: 2 years
Average Wingspan: 25-30 cm


Beak type: Specialist


Natural: Aquatic insects, larvae and snails, freshwater shrimps.


Nesting: Traditionally located in a natural crevice in a stream-side cave or waterfall, although the birds readily take to cracks in man-made alternatives such as bridges, walls, weirs and culverts. The nest is built by both parents in a domed structure of moss, grass stems and leaves, with a wide entrance usually pointing down towards water. There is an inner cup of stems, rootlets, leaves and hair.


Where to see: The dipper can be found along fast-flowing rivers, mainly in upland areas but also on lowland rivers in SW England.

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White-throated Dipper by Charles Fleming
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