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American Dipper - BirdForum Opus

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Alternative name: Water Ouzel

Photo by jvhigbee
Pierce Co., Washington, USA
Cinclus mexicanus


L. 7-8 1/2" (18-22 cm)

  • Uniform slate-gray
  • Wren-shaped with stubby tail
  • Yellowish feet


  • Paler overall
  • Mottled underparts


From Alaska including Aleutian Islands through western Canada, USA, Mexico and Central America to Panama. Northern population move to lowlands in winter.

Photo by jvhigbee
Lewis County, Washington, USA, June 2005



There are 4 subspecies[2]:

  • C. m. unicolor:
  • C. m. mexicanus:
  • Highlands of northern and central Mexico
  • C. m. anthonyi:
  • C. m. ardesiacus:


The American Dipper is most often seen in clear, fastrunning mountain streams.


When standing on a rock in or near the stream, they often "bob" up and down.


Nest is large but normally well hidden[1]


Food mainly consist of invertebrates living in streams. Dippers often disappear under the surface searching for food.


Song: A loud, bubbling song that carries over the noise of rapids.
Call: A sharp zeet


  1. Howell & Webb, 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198540124
  2. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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