Cinclus mexicanus
(American Dipper)


Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Cinclidae
Family Description: Dippers

Physical Description:
7-8 1/2" (18-22 cm). Slate gray with short tail and browner head. Juveniles have white edgings on underparts.

Song:
Repeated variety of phrases: high pitched whistes, trills, etc. Call is a loud dzheet.

Distribution:
Resident from portions of Alaska and western Canada, south in mountains to southwestern South Dakota, and further south to southern California, highlands of Mexico, and western Panama.

Habitat:
Found up to treeline along montane streams, especially along swift-flowing water. Found less frequently along mountain ponds and lakes. In winter, occasionally found along rocky seacoasts.

Diet:
Feeds on adult insects and their larvae (e.g., caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies, mosquitos, and water beetles). Also eats clams, snails, and some trout fry.

Ecology:
Solitary except during nesting season. Nests on rock in stream, on cliff face, or behind waterfall. Adapted for semi-aquatic foraging. Walks, swims, or dives in or under water, and walks on stream bottoms while foraging. Characteristic dipping behavior upon alighting may signal mate.

Reproduction:
Female incubatesClick word for definition 3-6 eggs (usualy 4-5), for 15-17 days. Young are altricialClick word for definition, are tended by both adults, and leave nest at 24-25 days.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPBH01010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.


Photo by Peter S. Weber,© 2000
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.