Dipper Cinclus cinclus

Dippers are short-tailed birds with a plump body shape. They are unmistakable, with a white throat and breast, whilst the rest of their body is a brown-black colour. They can be found in many different habitats, including; rivers and streams, estuaries, lakes, and the coast.


Dippers have an amazing ability to hunt underwater, they stretch out their wings to balance their weight and then walk along the river bed. They are commonly seen hopping on and off rocks and bobbing up and down whilst perched – that is how they got their name.


Length: 18cm

Wingspan: 25-30cm

Weight 55-75g

Average Lifespan: 3 years


Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified in the UK as an Amber List species. Scotland is home to around 15,000 pairs.


Widespread throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

When to see

The dipper can be seen throughout the year.


Dippers are able to stay under water for up to 30 seconds. Their eyes are able to function underwater because of transparent eyelids that act as goggles when submerged.

Common name


Species name

Cinclus cinclus

IUCN Red List status

Least Concern

When to see in Scotland

The dipper can be seen throughout the year.

Where to see in Scotland

Falls of Clyde Wildlife Reserve

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