Family Dippers (Cinclidae)

Least Concern

Brown Dipper (Cinclus pallasii)


French: Cincle de Pallas German: Pallaswasseramsel Spanish: Mirlo acuático pardo

Cinclus Pallasii


, 1820,

“Crimea”; error = eastern Siberia


Closest to C. cinclus. Proposed races yesoensis (described from Hokkaido, in N Japan), hondoensis (Hondo, in S Japan) and marila (Taiwan) are considered indistinguishable from nominate; similarly, undina (from Khasi Hills, in NE India) is merged with dorjei. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. pallasii Temminck, 1820 – E Russia, C & E China, Korea, Sakhalin, S Kuril Is, Japan (S to Yakushima) and Taiwan.
  • C. p. tenuirostris Bonaparte, 1850 – Tien Shan S to N Afghanistan, and from NW Pakistan (Safed Koh) E in Himalayas to Sikkim.
  • C. p. dorjei Kinnear, 1937 – E Himalayas E to mountains of W, N & E Myanmar, S China (S Xizang, W Yunnan), N & C Laos and NW Vietnam. Status uncertain in NW Thailand.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–23 cm; two males 88 g and 88·7 g, two females 76·3 g and 86·5 g (nominate), male 68·9–82·6 g and two females 62 g and 79 g... read more


    Song a rich warbling, reminiscent of Thrush Nightingale (Luscinia luscinia), includes dry... read more


    Fast-flowing rocky mountain streams and shallow rivers with clear water; sometimes at upland tarns... read more

    Food and feeding

    Aquatic invertebrates, especially mayfly (Ephemeroptera) and stonefly (Plecoptera) nymphs, larvae of caddis flies (Trichoptera) and similar... read more


    Dec to early Aug, depending on altitude; laying mainly from Apr in Russia, Dec–Mar in China; in Japan, lays from mid-Apr in N (... read more


    Resident, with some altitudinal movement. In breeding areas in Gissar Mts (E Uzbekistan-Tajikistan... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Considered common and widespread on suitable watercourses throughout most of its extensive range; fairly common in Japan. Reported former occurrence... read more

    Recommended citation

    Ormerod, S., Tyler, S. & Bonan, A. (2020). Brown Dipper (Cinclus pallasii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).