Horaltic dipper


The dipper is perhaps the most unusual bird in this region. It is a songbird that hunts for comestibles on the floor of turbulent mountain streams. It peeks below the water’s surface and dives to the creek bottom to fetch things to eat.

Here a dipper pauses on a rock before resuming its hunt for food in the creek.

The dipper stands on a rock and sticks its head underwater to search the bottom.

This is the horaltic pose, sometimes adopted by large birds to warm or dry their wings. The dipper does not need to do either of these things. Indeed, this is the first time I have seen a dipper adopt this stance (see, horaltic vultures).


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11 Responses to Horaltic dipper

  1. Joanne says:

    It looks similar to your own birds eye view, as if you were above the dipper in flight.

  2. Christine Boyd says:

    Thanks Alistair. I haven’t heard of this bird before now!

  3. Sarah says:

    When and where was the dipper spotted, Alistair?

    • Alistair says:

      Sarah, this dipper was one of two I was watching, and I have seen up to a half dozen. They are on Kokanee Creek (in the Park) between the foot bridge across the creek (accessed from the group campground) and the bend beyond the spawning channel. It is a fairly reliable stretch of creek on which to find dippers. All the dippers in my essay, Dippers and Ice, where photographed there.

  4. Leslie Myles-Sanders says:

    Thanks so much, Alistair. Reminds me of the first time I saw (and was astonished by) a dipper in a mountain stream in Colorado.

  5. Peter Mackie says:

    More wonderful pictures and information Alistair. Dipper are amazing and Kokanee is such a good spot for watching them.

  6. tina wynecoop says:

    Alistair, did you ever see the poster of the mayor of Portland, Oregon, photographed with his back turned to the viewer, holding his raincoat wide open – and presumably unclothed beneath the coat … it reminded me of this ouzel – maybe an old hippy who flew to Canada to avoid this or that in the states?

    Never-the-less – your photographs are splendid!

  7. Heather says:

    i love these litte guys and respect their toughness in that cold water. i always look forward to seeing “the one” along the creek at the Nelson Nordic trails.

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