American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) in a stream in Ucluelet, Vancouver Island. British Columbia, Canada.

Daily Creature 88: American Dipper

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American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) in a stream in Ucluelet, Vancouver Island. British Columbia, Canada.

American Dipper

(Cinclus mexicanus)

The American Dipper is North America’s only aquatic songbird! We started running into these guys in western Canada on our American Safari and when I first spotted one I said “look at that funny bird doing a dance in the creek!” What I was seeing was the characteristic bobbing motion of the American Dipper. It finds all its food in fast-moving rocky streams by dipping its head underwater, hence the name Dipper! They can even walk on the stream bottom and swim! This is downright weird for a songbird.

In order to survive their cold-water lifestyle they have an unusually low metabolic rate and a higher oxygen capacity in their blood!

Photographed next to the Thornton Creek Fish Hatchery, Ucluelet, Vancouver Island. British Columbia, Canada.

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