Flying submarine - Dipper


Winter is the time when by swift rivers full of rapids you may see one of the most unique bird in Latvia – Dipper. Usually Dippers spend only winter in our country, but sometimes they also nest here. They cross Latvia’s territory during their migration from Scandinavia to south that starts at the end of the October. Every year approximately 400 Dippers spend the winter in Latvia.
One of the most interesting things about them is how they find food under water. Feathers of this bird are thick and greasy so the cold water does not reach its body. Flap which covers the nostrils and a clear membrane which can cover the eye allows this bird search for food underwater. To stay underwater, the bird opens its wings and thus it is pushed to the bottom by the water current. When it turns downstream it immediately pops out of the water. Short and strong toes help them effectively grasp rocks on a stream bottom to find food. Mostly they feed on different water invertebrates such as larvae of cadisflies, mayflies and alderflies. Dippers will stay in Latvia until the end of March when they have to go back to Scandinavian mountain river banks to nest.