White Throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) are a wonderfully characterful bird of the river. They are a smallish but stout bird with a pale chest that contrasts with their otherwise dark plumage.
They feed on river invertebrates (esp. freshwater shrimps) which they search for under the water or by turning stones in the shallows. They will immediately swallow larvae & small food whilst still submerged – larger prey are brought to the surface for eating (see pic below).
Amazingly capable of balancing themselves in strong currents by using their wings in the water; they also have the tendency to bob up & down whilst standing on rocks & even riverside branches – like a dancer limbering up.
They are of amber conservation status in Britain. A quiet observer can spot them (& hear their high pitched call) on various upland welsh rivers. Below is a short video that I was lucky enough to capture whilst maintaining riverside paddocks last week.
Breeding & fledging will be in full swing currently, so a few stolen moments of preening are probably very much appreciated.
Do keep a look out for these energetic little birds whilst you are walking by the local rivers – they are well worth a few minutes spent watching them.