British wildlife recordings
Cinclus cinclus : Dipper - Cinclidae
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Teign Valley, Devon: OS Grid Reference(436500,314500)
Dipper, Cinclus cinclus
The song of the male dipper, recorded on the Teign Valley, Devon. This is a bird that is unmistakable and once seen, never forgotten. The dipper is the only member of the most aquatic family of all the perching birds and the only one to totally submerge itself whilst searching for the aquatic invertebrates on which it feeds. The name 'dipper' comes from the regular bobbing action so characteristic of this bird as it stands on favourite rock perches that jut out from rushing streams which it makes its home. Dippers hold a territory throughout the year and nests can be situated in a riverbank, on a rock-face ledge, or amongst tree-roots, but always very close to running water. Most dippers, once they fledge, will disperse at least 2.5 km from their breeding site. The male dipper's song is a sweet, rippling warble that is usually heard between October and July but can sometimes be difficult to pick out above the sound of rushing water. Dippers breed mainly along upland streams and rivers of northern and western Britain but can also be found at lower altitudes in the south-west. There are between 7,000 and 21,000 pairs breeding in Britain and despite fluctuations, the population is thought to be relatively stable.