|White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus
|River Spey, Invernessshire, Scotland
The White-throated Dipper is found throughout much of Europe and into central Asia and central China. In Britain it is absent from south-east England. See the distribution map at Birdlife International.
It is a unique bird with pretty unique habitat requirements since it needs swift-running streams and rivers in mountainous or hilly country. It hunts for invertebrate prey along the stream beds and, to do so, it walks submerged on the stream bed.
|Out of the water it looks for all the world like an over-sized wren with grey-brown upperparts and a large white
bib. Different sub-species have a varying amount of browny-red just below the white bib.
When standing on a rock or the river bank it bobs its body up and down while at the same time blinking its white eye-lid or nictitating membrane which is used to protect the eye underwater. It is often seen first when flying straight and fast along a water course. They seem to have territories of about 1 km along a stream or river and, once they have hunted along the stream bed in one direction (mainly upstream?) they fly to the other end of the territory to start hunting again.
They build their nests in holes or on ledges in the river bank.
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