Alaska.Guide

American Dipper of Alaska

C: Birds } O: Passeriformes } F: Dipper } G: Dipper } S: American Dipper

Common Name: American Dipper
Latin: Cinclus mexicanus
Yup'ik: puyuqumaar(aq*)

Viewing Scale

Chances of seeing American Dipper in Alaska

Description

The American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), or Water Ouzel is the only true aquatic songbird in North America, both sexes sing year-round. They have large round bellies much like a robin. They are solid shades of gray, with possible brown tinges, and can have thin white lining around the eyes.

American Dippers have an extra, thin eyelid for seeing under water and scales to close their nostrils when submerging their head underwater.

Like many aquatic shore bird it bobs and ducks often. American Dippers can get up to 8 inches long and about 2.4 ounces.

Diet & Habitat

American Dippers are insectivores feeding up mosquitos, midges, mayflies, as well as other insects and the occasional crayfish, tadpole, or small fish. They eat insects in all stages feeding on larva as easy picking, and of course adult insects. While hunting for insects in the water dippers can plunge their head under water multiple times at a second per interval. Thus the name dipper.

Living mostly along clear fresh flowing streams and rivers, American Dippers prefer waterways with a rocky floor.

Spending so much time along the shore and in the water the American Dipper can become the rare snack for larger salmon, and one recorded instance of one being consumed by a Dolly Varden.