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Dipper with a beakful of insects ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or


This is one of the most characteristic, and characterful, birds of our clean burns and fast-flowing rivers.

A short-tailed songbird, frequenting fast-flowing streams and rivers and able to swim, dive, and walk under water to feed.

The dipper is immediately recognisable by its constant bobbing motion.

Dippers ‘fly’ underwater to reach the riverbed, where they feed on freshwater invertebrates.

Protection of dippers

Find out how Scotland’s wild birds are protected.

Learn about birds and licensing.

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