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White-throated Dipper - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Cinclus cinclus)
Photo © by Nigel Blake
Dovedale, Derbyshire, March 2004
Cinclus cinclus

Includes: Black-bellied Dipper


Photo © by Macswede
Nyfors, Sweden, January 2013

(17-20 cm) 6.5-8 in

  • Dark above
  • White throat and bib
  • Chestnut band below bib
  • Remainder of underparts are dark brown
  • Black bill
  • Brownish legs
  • Black eye has a nictating membrane


Differences in plumage between the subspecies is annotated in the Taxonomy section[1].


Juvenile, subspecies aquaticus
Photo © by Donald Talbott
Stara Fuzina Bohinj, Slovenia, May 2012

Fairly common in suitable habitats in a widespread but discontinuous range. Breeds in Ireland and north and west Britain, Spain and north Portugal and from southern and eastern France and Italy to the Balkans and Greece.

In the north found in central Denmark and throughout Norway and Sweden, north Finland and the southern half of the Kola Peninsula. Isolated pockets in south Finland and the Baltic States, in parts of north Russia and in the Urals.

In the south breeds in the Caucasus and much of Turkey, in the Lebanon and in Morocco and north Algeria and in the Mediterranean on Corsica, possibly Sardinia, and Sicily, formerly also Cyprus. Has bred in the Netherlands.

Vagrants have been recorded on Svalbard and the Faroes and Malta and in Tunisia and Iraq (may breed).



Photo © by ivan ellison
River Irwell, Summerseat, Lancashire, October 2009
Subspecies gularis, Juvenile
Photo © by Frank-birding
Worcestershire, UK, 3 May 2019

Thirteen subspecies are recognised by Clements[1]

  • C. c. hibernicus:
  • Ireland, Outer Hebrides and western coast of Scotland. Darker brown and chestnut of belly darker and less extensive.
  • C. c. gularis:
  • C. c. cinclus:
  • Scandinavia and northern Russia (to Kaliningrad region). Dark brown head and neck and blackish belly.
  • C. c. aquaticus:
  • Central and southern Europe to Balkan Peninsula. Pale above, especially on head and neck, and brighter chestnut on the belly.
  • C. c. minor:
  • Mountains of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Very similar to aquaticus but with fractionally longer bill.
  • C. c. olympicus:
  • Formerly found on Cyprus, extinct since the 1940s.
  • C. c. caucasicus:
  • Caucasus Mountains to northwest Iran, winters to Iraq and Pakistan. Dull and greyish above and dull brown below, barely tinged chestnut.
  • C. c. rufiventris:
  • Anti-Lebanon Mountains, Lebanon. A pale race.
  • C. c. persicus:
  • Southwest Iran (Zagros and Bakhtiari mountains) , probably also in Azerbaijan and eastern Turkey. The largest and palest race.
  • C. c. uralensis:
  • Ural Mountains, Russia. Paler than nominate with belly tinged chestnut.
  • C. c. leucogaster:
  • Mountains of central Asia
  • C. c. cashmeriensis:
  • C. c. przewalskii:


Found along fast-flowing streams and rivers in upland areas, nesting in rocky banks or behind waterfalls, under bridges and in walls. In winter often moves to lower altitudes where seen at weirs, sometimes in slower moving parts of streams and on lake shores.



Fast direct flight low over the water. Walks and swims underwater. Perches on low rocks in a river, constantly bobbing.


The diet consists of aquatic invertebrates, caddis worms, aquatic insect larvae, beetles, molluscs, and also small fish.


The domed nest is built from moss, straw and other vegetable matter, often placed on a ledge under a bridge, or any suitable crevice. The breeding season starts in March and three to six white eggs are laid.

There may be a second brood or even third brood.


Most populations are basically resident but many make short-distance dispersal movements in autumn usually to lower altitudes. In the far north where waters become frozen makes longer movements and partially migratory leaving breeding areas in October-November and returning in March.



  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Absolute Astronomy
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  4. Observer's Book of Birds' Eggs

Recommended Citation

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