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Dippers: Cinclidae

Physical Characteristics

Of all Passeriformes, or perching birds, dippers are the only true aquatic songbirds. They have plump bodies with short tails, strong legs, and powerful feet. Their preen, or oil, glands are larger than those found in most perching birds and help keep their feathers waterproof. This is essential because dippers spend most of their lives in or near rivers and streams. Their eyes have nictating membranes, or inner eyelids, that allow the birds to see underwater.

Most species are uniformly gray or brown, but some species have white heads or underbellies. All dippers have white eyelids and short, hard bills.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsDippers: Cinclidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, American Dipper (cinclus Mexicanus): Species Accounts, Eurasian Dipper (cinclus Cinclus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, DIPPERS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS