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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.