©Andy Rouse/2020VISION


Scientific name: Cinclus cinclus
The chocolate-brown, plump dipper can often be seen bobbing up and down on a stone in a fast-flowing river. It feeds on underwater insects by walking straight into, and under, the water.

Species information


Length: 18cm
Wingspan: 28cm
Weight: 64g
Average lifespan: 3 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

January to December


A medium-sized, plump bird, the dipper is often seen sitting on a stone in a river or stream, bobbing up and down. It can be found around fast-flowing streams and rivers, mostly in upland areas, but also in South West England. It feeds on underwater invertebrates, such as stonefly and caddis fly larvae, by walking straight into, and completely under, the water to find them.

How to identify

The dipper is a short-tailed, chocolate-brown bird, with a white throat and chest.


Widespread in the uplands.

Did you know?

Dippers have a third, transparent eyelid called a 'nictitating membrane' that they can close, enabling them to see underwater.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.