White-throated dipper

The white-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus), also known as the European dipper or just dipper, is an aquatic passerine bird found in Europe, Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. The species is divided into several subspecies, based primarily on colour differences, particularly of the pectoral band. The white-throated dipper is Norway's national bird.[3]

White-throated dipper
Cinclus cinclus -Kirkcudbright, Scotland-8
In Scotland
Song recorded in Devon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cinclidae
Genus: Cinclus
C. cinclus
Binomial name
Cinclus cinclus
Cinclus cinclus01 distr-2

     Resident      Winter[2]

Sturnus cinclus Linnaeus, 1758

Taxonomy and systematics

The white-throated dipper was described in 1758 by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Sturnus cinclus.[4] The current genus Cinclus was introduced by the German naturalist Moritz Balthasar Borkhausen in 1797.[5] The name cinclus is from the Ancient Greek word kinklos that was used to describe small tail-wagging birds that resided near water.[6] Of the five species now placed in the genus, a molecular genetic study has shown that the white-throated dipper is most closely related to the other Eurasian species, the brown dipper (Cinclus pallasii).[7]

There are 14 subspecies of which one is now extinct (with ):[8]

  • C. c. hibernicus Hartert, 1910 – Ireland and west Scotland
  • C. c. gularis (Latham, 1801) – Scotland (except west), north, central and west England and Wales
  • C. c. cinclus (Linnaeus, 1758) – north Europe, west and central France and north Spain, Corsica and Sardinia
  • C. c. aquaticus (Bechstein, 1797) – central and south Europe
  • C. c. olympicus Madarász, 1903 – Cyprus
  • C. c. minor Tristram, 1870 – northwest Africa
  • C. c. rufiventris Tristram, 1885 – west Syria and Lebanon
  • C. c. uralensis Serebrovski, 1927 – Ural Mountains
  • C. c. caucasicus Madarász, 1903 – Turkey to the Caucasus, north Iran and north Iraq
  • C. c. persicus Witherby, 1906 – southwest Iran
  • C. c. leucogaster Bonaparte, 1850 – south-central Russia, northwest China south to Afghanistan and north Pakistan
  • C. c. baicalensis Dresser, 1892 – south-central and southeast Siberia
  • C. c. cashmeriensis Gould, 1860 – west and central Himalayas
  • C. c. przewalskii Bianchi, 1905 – east Himalayas, south Tibet and west China


The white-throated dipper is about 18 centimetres (7.1 in) long, rotund and short tailed.[9] The head of the adult (gularis and aquaticus) is brown, the back slate-grey mottled with black, looking black from a distance, and the wings and tail are brown. The throat and upper breast are white, followed by a band of warm chestnut which merges into black on the belly and flanks. The bill is almost black, the legs and irides brown. C. c. cinclus has a black belly band. The young are greyish brown and have no chestnut band.


The male has a sweet wren-like song. During courtship the male sings whilst he runs and postures, exhibiting his snowy breast, and when displaying he will take long and high flights, like those of the common kingfisher, accompanied by sharp metallic calls clink, clink, different from the normal zil.

Behaviour and ecology

Cinclus cinclus -Brandon Creek, County Kerry, Ireland-8
At Brandon Creek, County Kerry, Ireland

The white-throated dipper is closely associated with swiftly running rivers and streams or the lakes into which these fall. It often perches bobbing spasmodically with its short tail uplifted on the rocks round which the water swirls and tumbles.

It acquired its name from these sudden dips, not from its diving habit, though it dives as well as walks into the water.

It flies rapidly and straight, its short wings whirring swiftly and without pauses or glides, calling a shrill zil, zil, zil. It will then either drop on the water and dive or plunge in with a small splash.

From a perch it will walk into the water and deliberately submerge, but there is no truth in the assertion that it can defy the laws of specific gravity and walk along the bottom. Undoubtedly when entering the water it grips with its strong feet, but the method of progression beneath the surface is by swimming, using the wings effectively for flying under water. It holds itself down by muscular exertion, with its head well down and its body oblique, its course beneath the surface often revealed by a line of rising bubbles.

In this way it secures its food, usually aquatic invertebrates including caddis worms and other aquatic insect larvae, beetles, Limnaea, Ancylus and other freshwater molluscs, and also fish and small amphibians. A favourite food is the small crustacean Gammarus, an amphipod shrimp. It also walks and runs on the banks and rocks seeking terrestrial invertebrates.

The winter habits of the dipper vary considerably and apparently individually. When the swift hill streams are frozen it is forced to descend to the lowlands and even visit the coasts, but some will remain if there is any open water.


Cinclus cinclus MWNH 1850
Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden, Germany
White-throated Dipper young one begging for food
White-throated Dipper young one begging for food, at Sumdo, Ladakh, India

The white-throated dippers first breed when they are one year old. They are monogamous and defend a territory. The nest is almost invariably built either very near or above water. It is often placed on a rocky ledge or in a cavity. Man-made structures such as bridges are also used. The nest consists of a dome shaped structure made of moss, grass stems and leaves with a side entrance within which is an inner cup made of stems, rootlets and hair. Both sexes build the main larger structure but the female builds the inner cup. The eggs are laid daily. The clutch can contain from 1-8 eggs but usually 4-5. The eggs are smooth and glossy white and are 26 mm × 18.7 mm (1.02 in × 0.74 in) with a calculated weight of 4.6 g (0.16 oz). They are incubated by the female beginning after the last or sometimes the penultimate egg has been laid.[10] The male will bring food to the incubating female.[11] The eggs hatch after around 16 days and then both parents feed the altricial and nidicolous nestlings.[10] For the first 12-13 days they are brooded by the female. Both parents remove the faecal sacs for the first 9 days.[11] The chicks fledge at around 22 days of age but the parents continue to feed their young for another week but feeding can continue for 18 days. If the female has started a second clutch then only the male parent feeds the fledglings.[10] One or two broods are reared, usually in the same nest. When disturbed, the young that hardly feathered will at once drop into the water and dive.

The maximum recorded age of a white-throated dipper from ring-recovery data is 10 years and 7 months for a bird ringed in Finland.[12] Within the United Kingdom and Ireland the maximum age is 8 years and 9 months for a bird ringed and recovered in County Laois, Ireland.[13]

Dippers and humans

The first detailed description of the white-throated dipper, dating from c.1183, is that of Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis), the twelfth-century cleric, historian and traveller, in his book Topographia Hibernica, an account of his travels through Ireland in 1183-86.[14] Gerald, a keen observer of wildlife, describes the dipper accurately, but with his notorious tendency to believe anything he was told, which so often detracts from the value of his work,[15] states that it was an aberrant variety of the common kingfisher. The true kingfisher, according to Gerald, did not occur in Ireland in the 1180s, although it was widespread there by the eighteenth century.[16]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Cinclus cinclus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Brewer, David (2001). Wrens, Dippers and Thrashers. Pica Press. ISBN 978-1-873403-95-2.
  3. ^ "Norges nasjonalfugl fossekallen" (in Norwegian). Norsk Rikskringkasting AS. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  4. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1758). Systema Naturæ per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Volume 1 (in Latin) (10th ed.). Holmiae:Laurentii Salvii. p. 168.
  5. ^ Borkhausen (1797). Deutsche Fauna, oder, Kurzgefasste Naturgeschichte der Thiere Deutschlands. Erster Theil, Saugthiere und Vögel (in German). Frankfurt am Main: Varrentrapp und Wenner. p. 300.
  6. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  7. ^ Voelker, Gary (2002). "Molecular phylogenetics and the historical biogeography of dippers (Cinclus)". Ibis. 144 (4): 577–584. doi:10.1046/j.1474-919X.2002.00084.x.
  8. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Dippers, leafbirds, flowerpeckers, sunbirds". World Bird List Version 9.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  9. ^ Cramp 1988, p. 510.
  10. ^ a b c Cramp 1988, p. 521.
  11. ^ a b Cramp 1988, p. 519.
  12. ^ "European Longevity Records". Euring. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Longevity records for Britain & Ireland in 2017". British Trust for Ornithology. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  14. ^ Moriarty, Christopher Down the Dodder Wolfhound Press Dublin 1991 pp.114-5
  15. ^ D'Arcy, Gordon Ireland's Lost Birds Four Courts Press Dublin 1999 p.19
  16. ^ Moriarty p.115


  • Cramp, Stanley; et al., eds. (1988). "Cinclus cinclus Dipper". Handbook of the Birds of Europe the Middle East and North Africa. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Volume V: Tyrant Flycatchers to Thrushes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 510–524. ISBN 978-0-19-857508-5.

External links

Aggtelek National Park

Aggtelek National Park (Hungarian: Aggteleki Nemzeti Park) is a national park in Northern Hungary, in the Aggtelek Karst region. The most significant values of the national park are the special surface formations and caves in this limestone landscape.

American dipper

The American dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), also known as a water ouzel, is a stocky dark grey bird with a head sometimes tinged with brown, and white feathers on the eyelids that cause the eyes to flash white as the bird blinks. It is 16.5 cm (6.5 in) long and weighs on average 46 g (1.6 oz). It has long legs, and bobs its whole body up and down during pauses as it feeds on the bottom of fast-moving, rocky streams. It inhabits the mountainous regions of Central America and western North America from Panama to Alaska.

Brown dipper

The brown dipper (Cinclus pallasii), also known as Pallas's dipper, Asian dipper or the Asiatic dipper, is an aquatic songbird found in the mountains of southern and central Asia. It is a thrush-like bird with a cocked tail. Its plumage is chocolate-brown with a slightly lighter coloured back and breast. At 22 cm (8.7 in) and 87 g (3.1 oz), it is the largest of the dippers. This species, which is not often seen, is found at medium to low elevations where mountain streams flow.


Dippers are members of the genus Cinclus in the bird family Cinclidae, named for their bobbing or dipping movements. They are unique among passerines for their ability to dive and swim underwater.

Forsakar Nature Reserve

The Forsakar Nature Reserve (Swedish: Naturreservatet Forsakar [fɔʂaˈkɑːr]) is situated in the north-eastern part of the Skåne province of Sweden, in the Kristianstad municipality near the village of Degeberga. The 2.5 hectare large nature reserve was founded 1928 and mainly encompasses a 750 metres long and 40 metres deep ravine

. The ravine runs from west to east and is likely a product of erosion during some of the ice ages.

The Forsaker Creek (Swedish: Forsakarbäcken) runs through the nature reserve and passes the Forsakar Waterfalls (Swedish: Forsakar Vattenfall), the upper fall having a free fall of 7.4 metres and the lower fall having a free fall of 10.6 metres. The bedrock of the ravine consists of Gneiss. The nature reserve has three minor dams that were erected during the late 19th century and the early 20th century to create hydroelectricity. The dams are nowadays dismantled and inactive.

The vegetation of the Forsaker Nature Reserve is dominated by beech forest. Longside the creek is a more humid forest vegetation including alder, ash, elm and hornbeam.

Characteristic resident birds of the nature reserve are amongst others the white-throated dipper, grey wagtail and the Eurasian wren. Common birds of the beech forest are the wood warbler, hawfinch, tawny owl and the lesser spotted woodpecker. Amongst mammals in the nature reserve the mink and pine marten are common. When it comes to insects some rarily seen species have been reported such as rove beetles, carrion beetles, the Agathomyia wankowiczi fly and the endangered Carabus intricatus beetle.


Forsån (Swedish: "Rapids' Stream") is a stream in southern Stockholm, Sweden. It is also known as Stortorpsån and Forsen.

Leaving lake Magelungen calmly by a small sandy beach, Forsån's upper reach passes through a furrow blown in the 1860s to lower the level of the lake resulting in the present wide torrents passing through the bedrock. In contrast, the last 500 metres of the course are characterized by flat shores and stagnant, overgrown waters. The stream has a vigorous population of signal crayfish and is the only winter habitat in Stockholm for white-throated dipper.

Gail (river)

Gail (Slovene: Zilja, Italian: Zeglia) is the name of a river in southern Austria, the largest right tributary of the Drava.


Hällingsåfallet is a waterfall and a nature reserve in Jämtland County in Sweden. It is part of the European Union-wide Natura 2000 network.


Igelbäcken (Swedish: (the) Leech Stream) is a small stream in northern Stockholm, Sweden. The drainage area, part of the Royal National City Park and divided into several nature reserves, is shared by the municipalities of Järfälla, Sollentuna, Solna, Stockholm, and Sundbyberg.

Kongernes Nordsjælland

Kongernes Nordsjælland (Royal North Sealand) is a national park in the northern region of the island of Zealand, Denmark. It opened in 2018.

List of birds of Ireland

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Ireland. The avifauna of Ireland include a total of 478 species as of late 2015 according to the Irish Rare Birds Committee (IRBC). An additional 17 species have been added from Bird Checklists of the World.Of these 495 species, 281 are rare or accidental and three have been introduced by humans. One has apparently been extirpated, one is extinct, and one is probably extinct. The list also includes four entries of birds that have been accepted without being identified to species. The list does not include species placed in "Category D" by the IBRC. These are species where there is doubt as to whether they have occurred in a wild state (Category D1), they have arrived by human assistance such as on board a ship (D2), they have only been recorded dead on the tideline (D3), or they are feral species whose populations may not be self-sustaining (D4).

Ireland has a relatively low diversity of breeding birds due to its isolation. Several species such as the tawny owl, Eurasian nuthatch and willow tit which breed in Great Britain have not been recorded. However, there are large colonies of seabirds including important populations of European storm-petrels, northern gannets, and roseate terns. Other notable breeding birds include corn crakes and red-billed choughs. There are no endemic species but there are endemic subspecies of white-throated dipper, coal tit, and Eurasian jay.

Large numbers of wildfowl and waders winter in Ireland, attracted by its mild climate. About half the world population of the Greenland race of greater white-fronted geese spend the winter there. During autumn, many migrating seabirds can be seen off the coasts including several species of skuas, shearwaters, and petrels. Ireland's westerly position means that North American birds are regularly recorded in autumn.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (English and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2018 edition.The following tags have been used to highlight several categories of occurrence; the tags are from Bird Checklists of the World.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Ireland

(I) Introduced - a species introduced to Ireland as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions

List of birds of Norway

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Norway. The avifauna of Norway included a total of 517 species recorded in the wild by the end of 2016 according to the Norwegian Ornithological Society (Norsk Ornitologisk Forening, NOF). An additional 23 species have been recorded by Bird Checklists of the World by early 2018. Of the 540 species listed here, 257 are accidental, five have been introduced by humans, and one is extinct.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2018 edition.The following tags have been used to highlight some categories of occurrence. The (A) tags are from Bird Checklists of the World. The (I) and (D) tags are from the NOF. The notes of population status such as "endangered" apply to the world population and are also from Bird Checklists of the World.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Norway

(I) Introduced - a species introduced directly or indirectly to Norway and which has an established population

(D) Category D - species (17) for which there is reasonable doubt as to the wild origin of reported birds


Ouzel may refer to:

Common blackbird or ouzel, a species of thrush, all-black in the male

Lord Howe thrush or ouzel, an extinct subspecies of the island thrush

River Ouzel, a river in England, a tributary of the Great Ouse

Rivelin Dams

Rivelin Dams are a pair of water storage reservoirs situated in the upper part of the Rivelin Valley, 5 miles (8 km) west of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. The dams are owned by Yorkshire Water and provide water to 319,000 people as well as compensation water for the River Rivelin. They are named Upper and Lower and fall just within the eastern boundary of the Peak District.

Schwarza (Leitha)

The Schwarza is a river in Lower Austria. It is a headstream of the River Leitha.

Schwentine Oxbow Lake

The Schwentine Oxbow Lake (German: Altarm der Schwentine) is an area around part of the River Schwentine between Raisdorf and Klausdorf that was designated a nature reserve in 1984. It received this conservation status because the waterbody has remained close to its natural state due to its steep river banks and is a habitat for a range of rare plants and animals. It covers an area of 19 hectares (47 acres). In addition to the section of river it includes an oxbow lake, a tributary, hedgerows, wooded river banks and slopes, rich in herbs, and small ponds.

The Schwentine valley, in which the nature reserve lies, was formed from a chain of dead-icefields that were left behind after the last ice age. After they had melted a chain of dammed-up lakes was formed and, when the water forced its way out, the present river valley of the Schwentine emerged.


Uzunbodzhak (Bulgarian: Узунбоджак), also transliterated as Ouzounboudjak is an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, one of the five nature reserves in Strandzha Nature Park in south-eastern Bulgaria. The reserve is sometimes called Lopushna (Bulgarian: Лопушна). Uzunbodzhak was established on 13 December 1956 and was included in the UNESCO network of biosphere reserves in March 1977. It covers an area of 2529.6 hectares, or 25.296 km2. All economic activities are prohibited on the territory of the reserve.

Walter Beick

Walter Beick (1 October 1883 – 25 March 1933) was a Baltic-Russian ornithologist who explored and studied the birdlife of Tibet and Mongolia. He made large collections of specimens and several species have been described based on his collections and named after him.

Beick was born in Võru, Estonia, which was then a Baltic province of Russia. The son of a lawyer, he went to school at St. Petersburg in the gymnasium of Dr Wiedemann and then at the Eberswalde forestry school. He served in the First World War with the Russian army and was wounded on the German front. He then settled in Russian Turkestan and from 1916 began to make hunting trips from the Ala-tau mountains. His knowledge of the region led to him being chosen to lead a commando expedition against nomadic tribes. In 1917 he moved to Prezewalsk on the shore of Issy-Kul and in 1918 he worked in the forest service in Sepsinsk. He was briefly the director of the Forest School in Werny. In 1920 he was forced to give up all his possessions including his collections to the Bolsheviks and fled to Chinese Turkestan where he lived by hunting and fishing. In 1925 he was supported for a collection expedition to Ebi Nor by the Berlin Museum under the director Paul Matschie. He travelled to Siningfu in 1927 where he met and travelled with Wilhelm Fischner and then moved on to the South Tetung followed by Koku Nor along with Friedrich Wagner. He then moved to Sining and stayed for two years. He joined Birger Bohlin of the Sven Hedin Expedition and spent some time in Tsag Nor and was hoping to return to Germany. On the way at Wajan Tori he suffered from a breakdown and in a fit of depression he shot himself. He was buried in the desert with a cross inscribed "Walter Beick, 25 March 1933" at 42° N, 101° 19′ 6″ E.Subspecies that have been named after him include the following, although not all are now considered valid.

Dendrocopus major beicki Stresemann, 1927 a subspecies of the great spotted woodpecker

Prunella rubeculoides beicki Mayr, 1927 a subspecies of the robin accentor

Phoenicurus schisticeps beicki Stresemann, 1927 a subspecies of the white-throated redstart

Cinclus cinclus beicki Meise, 1928 a subspecies of the white-throated dipper

Aegolius funereus beickianus Stresemann, 1928 a subspecies of the boreal owl

Carpodacus synoicus beicki Stresemann, 1930 a subspecies of the Sinai rosefinch

Calandrella cheleensis beicki Meise, 1933 a subspecies of the Asian short-toed lark

Ithaginis cruentus beicki Mayr & Birckhead, 1937 a subspecies called Beick's blood pheasant

Rhopophilus pekinensis beicki Meise, 1937 a subspecies of the Beijing babbler

Luscinia calliope beicki Meise, 1937 a subspecies of the Siberian rubythroat


The Évançon (sometimes written Évençon) is the stream which flows through the val d'Ayas and flows into the Doire baltée. Its name in Franco-Provençal might mean "Grand River"or "River from the Mountaintops" (eva d'en som). In archival documents it is often referred to as l'eau blanche (French for "Whitewater").

The Unité des communes valdôtaines de l'Évançon takes its name from the stream.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.