The American dipper (Cinclus mexicanus), also known as a water ouzel, is a fascinating dark gray bird found in fast-flowing, boulder-strewn streams in Costa Rica’s mountains and foothills. It has a small, rounded body, a short tail, and relatively long legs. It is one of three birds to look for along boulder-strewn streams. The other two species are the Torrent Tyrannulet and the Black Phoebe.
Also, the name dipper is derived from the bird’s behavior of dipping up and down as it hops and flies from rock to rock. This bird typically flies downstream and then hop, climb, and fly upstream from boulder to boulder though occasionally submerging to capture larvae of mayflies, mosquitoes, midges, craneflies, dragonflies, beetles, and sometimes small fish.
From Feb to May, the female bird lays 2 to 4 eggs in a well-camouflaged nest along the side of a stream. In Costa Rica, you can look for the American Dipper from the bridge at La Virgen del Socorro, at the Peace Waterfall (Catarata de la Paz), at Bosque de Paz, at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, along the Rio Savegre in the San Gerardo de Dota Valley, and from the bridges over the Rio Grande de Orosi and its tributaries in Tapanti NP.
The beautiful species is equipped with an extra eyelid called a “nictitating membrane” which enables him to see underwater and scales its nostrils when submerged. Moreover, this dipper species produces extra oil as compare to other birds, which supports him to keep warmer when searching for the food inside the water.
The bird is a permanent resident, moving lower elevations if necessary, to find food or unfrozen water. If this bird present in an area, that means species have good water quality here. Therefore this bird has vanished from some locations due to water pollution or increased silt load in streams.
American Dipper Song – Call – Sound
American Dipper song consists of loud whistles or trills peeee peeee pijurr pijurr repeated sometimes. However, both males and females sing year-round.
Scientfic Name – Cinelus mexicanus
Family – Cinclidae
Costa Rican name: Mirlo acuatico plomizo.
Status: Permanent resident.
length: 5.5-7.9 inches with a wingspan of 23cm.
Weight: 1.6 ounces (46 grams).
Range: American dipper inhabits the mountainous regions of Central America and western Northern Alaska to Western Panama.
Elevational range: 2,00Q-8,200 feet.
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