White-throated Dipper

White-throated Dipper    Cinclus cinclus


  • Cinclus : Greek word kinklos – small, tail-wagging waterside bird
  • Cinclus : Greek word kinklos – small, tail-wagging waterside bird

Vernacular Names: Kash: Dungal, Galkar, Cachar: Daodui-di

Distribution in India: Resident of Himalayas

Description: Size of 19-20 cm. The nominate race has head down to ear-coverts and lores dark brown; upperparts darker and greyer with feathers narrowly edged blackish; flight-feathers and tail are blackish-brown to grey-brown; chin and throat to breast is white, belly to vent blackish-brown; iris brown; bill black; legs dark brown. Both the sexes are similar, female slightly smaller and shorter-winged than male. The juvenile is distinctive, dark slate-grey above, feathers with black-brown margins, wings fringed pale, white chin and throat, dark-barred greyish underparts.

Habitat: It is found in fast-flowing, clear-water rocky streams and rivers with riffles and exposed rocks, and with abundant invertebrate prey; shallow watercourses in broadleaf woodland, in semi-natural forest and on open moorland. Also glacial lakes. Requires rocky cliffs or artificial sites, e.g. bridges, for breeding.

Food Habits: It eats aquatic invertebrates & larvae of caddis flies also small fish. It forages on rocks and stones on riverbed, also on wetted surface of rocks above water; sometimes on riverbank among tree roots and leaves; rarely, on coastal shorelines. It feeds mostly by plunging into swift-flowing water; wades in shallow water, but in deeper water generally submerges completely. It swims against current, using wings as main source of locomotion, “walking” on river bottom.

Breeding Habits: They breed in Feb-Aug. They are monogamous, but some males are polygynous;. They are solitary nesters. The nest is built by both sexes. The nest is a large globular structure with side entrance hole, made mainly of moss, lined by female with dry leaves. The nest is placed in rock crevice or cliff ledge, in masonry or on ledge in wall or under bridge, sometimes behind waterfall, , almost invariably over running water. They lay a clutch of 3–6 eggs. The incubation is done by female, starting with last or penultimate egg. The incubation period is 15–18 days. The chicks are brooded by female, fed by both parent. They fledge in 20–24 days and the juveniles are fed by adults for 1–2 weeks.