Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Larry Fitzgerald
Photo Copyright Larry Fitzgerald

The American dipper, Cinclus mexicanus, occurs in western North America, as well as in Central America. It is moderately common in Utah, where it can be found in mountainous areas near lakes and streams. Although the American dipper is not a long-distance migrant, it may migrate short distances, especially to lower elevations, for winter.

Nests are often built on rocks, cliffs, or bridges near water. The female lays a clutch of two to six eggs; the eggs are incubated by the female alone for 15 to 17 days. The young, which are tended by both parents, leave the nest at about 25 days of age.

The American dipper is active during the day, and individuals are generally solitary, except during the breeding season. This species forages in and near the water, eating insects, other invertebrates, and small fishes.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.