American Dipper

Scientific Name:

Cinclus mexicanus




Flowing water in mountains, deserts, and near coasts


Western North America


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


American dippers are stocky, gray-colored birds around the same size as robins. They have large heads, long legs, short necks, and thin, dark-colored bills. American dippers can be recognized by their white eyelids and bobbing behavior, as well as being the only North American songbirds that dive underwater.

Fast Facts:

  • American dippers are the only truly aquatic North American songbirds. They hunt for aquatic invertebrates and small fish by wading and diving underwater.

  • American dippers are able to survive in cold waters thanks to their thick coats of feathers, a low metabolic rate, and the ability to carry extra oxygen in their blood.

  • Female dippers build their nests around bridges or behind waterfalls where the nest material stays constantly wet from the water’s spray. Nests are built out of materials like moss, twigs, and roots.



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