American Dipper

photo by Phil Swanson

Cinclus mexicanus
L 7 1/2″ (19 cm).

Song or calls:
Song is loud and musical; wren-like. Call is sharp “zeet.”

Description: Sexes similar. Wren-shaped. Sooty-gray overall; short wings and tail; yellowish feet; and a dark bill. Juvenile is paler, with mottled underparts and a pale bill.

Behavior: Dippers lead an aquatic life, wading and even swimming in mountain streams to feed. These birds will run along the bottom of streams with their wings half-open.

Habitat: Found near clear, rapidly flowing mountain streams in wooded areas.

Where in Nebraska: Rare vagrant. Individuals have been reported once each from Sioux, Dawes, Cherry, Holt, Chase, and Adams Counties. At least four records since 1960.

Nebraska Seasons: Will sometimes move to open water at lower elevations during winter.

American Dipper - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)