29. BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER.
Cinclus melanogaster, Brehm. Lehrb. Eur. Vog. i. p. 289 (1823) ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 42 ; Newton, i. p. 244 ; Dresser, ii. p. 177, pl. 20 fig. 2 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. vi. p. 311 ; Saunders, p. 97 ; Lilford iii. p. 102, pl. 51.
Stroemstoer, Dan. ; Fossekal, Norweg. ; Stromstare, Swed. ; Koski- kara, Finn. ; Quoikgarek, Lapp ; Vodianoi-vorobei, Russ.
Ad. (Sweden). Crown and nape blackish brown ; wings and tail blackish brown, externally margined with slate grey ; back dark slate grey, squamated with blackish ; throat, fore part of breast, and a small spot above and below the eye, pure white ; rest of under parts blackish brown, the flanks washed with slate grey ; bill blackish ; legs brown ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.9, wings 3.7, tail, 2.25, tarsus 1.2 inch. The young bird has the upper parts dull slaty brown, the wing feathers tipped with white, the under parts white, barred with brown, flanks and anal regions slaty brown.
Hab. Scandinavia and Northern Europe, east to the Ural ; the Faeroes but not Iceland, in winter straying to N. Germany, Holland, Belgium, and England.
The Dippers, both the present species and its allies, are essentially water frequenters, living on running streams, especially where there are rapids and waterfalls. They are non-migratory only shifting their quarters in winter to lower altitudes when driven from their haunts by stress of weather. They dive with ease, and progress under water, using their wings as a mode of progression, and seek their food chiefly under water. They feed on aquatic insects of various kinds and their larvae, and do not, as has been asserted, devour the spawn of fish. Their flight is rapid and direct, usually not high above the surface of the water. Their call note is a sharp chit-chit, and their song is pleasing though short, reminding one of that of the Wren. The nest is usually domed, constructed of various kinds of mosses forming a close felted mass with the entrance-hole in front, and lined with grass stems rootlets and dead leaves. Cinclus albicollis is however said to build an open nest. The eggs 4 to 5 in number are pure white, glossy in texture of shell, rather elongated in shape averaging about 1.0 by 0.73, and are deposited in March or April and two broods are usually reared in the season. The nest is carefully concealed, placed under shelter of an overhang¬ing crag or rock close to the water, sometimes behind a small waterfall. Dippers being essentially non-migratory, isolation has caused the group to be separated into various local forms which have become permanently distinct and separated, though the differences are but slight ; but they do not appreciably differ in note, food, habits, or nidification, and it appears to me advisable to treat these as sub-species, which have probably descended from one parent stock, most likely C. melanogaster.
29. Cinclus melanogaster
29. BLACK-BELLIED DIPPER.