The Cinclinae or Dippers appear to be allied to the Thrushes, but to have undergone some modification of structure to adapt them to a different mode of life.
In the Dippers the bill is about as long as the head, narrow and straight, the tip slightly bent down and notched ; the nostrils are covered by a large membrane and the rictal bristles are entirely absent; the wing is very short and rounded ; the tail exceedingly short; the tarsus long and smooth.
The sexes are alike and the young are spotted. These do not assume the adult plumage till the first spring of their life, and the change is effected by the casting-off of the margins of the feathers.
The Dippers are aquatic in their habits, and they are admirably fitted for obtaining their food in the water. The plumage is everywhere very dense and even the eyelids are clothed with feathers ; the head is narrowed in front, and the feathers of the forehead are very short and lie flat.
The Dippers frequent mountain-streams, and the Indian species do not migrate. They build large domed nests of moss amongst rocks or between,the roots of trees near the water, and they lay numerous white eggs.