Tuesday, July 26, 2011

American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus

American Dipper Cinclus mexicanus

The only aquatic songbird in North America, the Dipper lives in the mountains of the West, close to cold, rushing streams. Its wrenlike song is given all year, especially when streams are very full; it can be heard even over the noise of the water. From the bank or a boulder, the Dipper plunges into the icy water to take water striders, mosquito larvae, and other insects. Dippers often bob up and down on a rock; when alarmed, they fly away, keeping low over the water.

Identification Stout, wrenlike; slate gray with long, pointed bill and stubby tail. Immature and winter adult may be paler, especially on outer wings and below.

Voice Song a loud, rich, musical medley of trills and runs. Alarm note a sharp bzeet, given in flight.

Habitat Near fast, clear, rushing mountain streams.

Range Breeds from Alaska to S. California and New Mexico; does not migrate, but may move downslope in very cold weather.

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