This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Dipper (Cinclus aquaticus), included in a sub-family (Formi-carinae) of the thrushes (Turdidae), is about 7 in. in length, having a very short tail, rather small rounded wings, and large powerful feet, and bill of moderate length, straight and slender. In the male the upper parts of the body are brown, throat and breast white, belly rusty, bill dark, and the feet horn colour. The female's body is ashy brown above, the breast less white, and there is a yellowish tinge on the lower parts. The dipper frequents hilly places where there are clear and rapid streams, and is met with all over Europe. It dives and moves some distance under water, and effects its progress by grasping submerged stones, thus walking, not merely swimming or flying under water. The nest is usually built by the waterside and is a mossy bundle with a central cavity and an entrance at the side, often concealed in clefts of rock. The eggs are five or six in number, and pure white. In the northern parts of Britain the young are hatched in April. Its food consists of insects and larvae, such as those of the dragon-fly, which is destructive of spawn, and newly-hatched fish, and therefore is of service to the angler. Besides, the song of the bird is a sweet lively note, and is retained throughout the year.
To rapid, rocky streams the dipper is a great ornament.