Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren/Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

American Dipper

American Dipper
Cinclus mexicanus
Perching Birds | Family: Dippers, Cinclidae

An estimated 8% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

The "Water Ouzel" feeds on insect life of streams. Where water is shallow and runs over gravel, the dipper appears to water ski on the surface. At deeper points it dives into the water and runs along the bottom with half-open wings.

Description

7-8 1/2" (18-22 cm). A uniformly slate-gray, wren-shaped bird with stubby tail; yellowish feet. Always found near rushing water.

Voice

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

Nesting

3-6 white eggs in a relatively large, insulated nest of moss, with a side entrance. Nest is built under roots, in a rock crevice, or on the bank of a stream.

Habitat

Near clear, fast mountain streams with rapids.

Range/Migration

Resident from northern Alaska south throughout mountains of West. May move to lowlands in winter.