American Dipper
(Cinclus mexicanus)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The American Dipper is found along rushing mountain streams and rivers in western Canada. Its habitat preferences make it difficult to survey and it is not well-monitored in Canada. Both Breeding Bird Survey and Christmas Bird Count results suggest there has been little overall change in the Canadian population since the early 1970s, but there is some uncertainty in that assessment. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeMediumAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000 - 50,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

Conservation and management

American Dipper populations are considered good indicators of ecosystem health, since they depend on rich invertebrate and fish populations that are sensitive to habitat disturbances such as siltation and acidification (Willson and Kingery 2011). Management practices that protect riparian areas from overgrazing, silting, overlogging, and pollution will benefit the species. For example, American Dipper populations in South Dakota have declined as a result of sedimentation, pollution, and changes to stream flow (Willson and Kingery 2011). American Dippers readily use nest boxes and other man-made structures that support nests at suitable sites (Willson and Kingery 2011).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Northern RockiesNorthern Rockies, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship