American Dipper

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image: AmericanDipper.jpg

Common Name: American Dipper

Scientific Name: Cinclus mexicanus

Size: 6-8 inches (14-20 cm)

Habitat: North A merica; Throughout the Pacific Northwest wherever fresh water streams and waterways are.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 600,000 Mature individuals. Bridges provide nesting sites, but stream pollution can destroy food supplies.

Diet: Aquatic insects.

Breeding: Usually 4-5 eggs are laid. The Nest is a two-part domed or ball-like structure with side entrance. Canopy of dome may overhang entrance hole to keep out water. Outer shell of moss with small amounts of interwoven grass and leaves. Inner chamber globular with woven cup of grass and leaves, sometimes bark. Built close to fast moving water, on crevice, cliff, or under a bridge. Will use nestbox.

Cool Facts: The dipper is the only songbird that regularly swims. To be able to survive in cold waters during the winter, the American Dipper has a low metabolic rate, extra oxygen-carrying capacity in its blood, and a thick coat of feathers. Unlike most other songbirds, but similarly to ducks, the American Dipper molts its wing and tail feathers all at once in the late summer. The bird is flightless during this time.

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