Dipper Portrait by Tom Marshall


Cinclus cinclus

Key Facts

  • Length: 18cm
  • Wingspan: 28cm
  • Weight: 64g
  • Average Lifespan: 3 years

A medium-sized, plump bird, the dipper is often seen sitting on a stone in a river or stream, bobbing up and down. It can be found around fast-flowing streams and rivers, mostly in upland areas but also in the south-west of England. It feeds on underwater invertebrates, such a stonefly and caddis fly larvae, by walking straight into and completely under the water to find them.

How to Identify

Unmistakeable: the dipper is a short-tailed, chocolate-brown bird with a white throat and chest.

Where to find

Widespread on fast-flowing rivers and streams in the uplands.

How People Can Help

To ensure that we keep populations of birds like the dipper healthy, The Wildlife Trusts are working towards a ‘Living Landscape’: a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Did you know?

Dippers have a third, transparent eyelid called a ‘nictating membrane’ that they can close, enabling them to see underwater.

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