White-capped dipper

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White-capped dipper
White-capped Dipper - Colombia S4E0638 (16432276063).jpg
Subspecies Cinclus leucocephalus leuconotus
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cinclidae
Genus: Cinclus
C. leucocephalus
Binomial name
Cinclus leucocephalus
Tschudi, 1844
Cinclus leucocephalus distr.png
Distribution map

The white-capped dipper (Cinclus leucocephalus) is an aquatic passerine found in South America. It is a small black bird with white spots. It is found in the Andes from northern Bolivia, through Peru, Ecuador, Colombia to northwest Venezuela.


The white-capped dipper was described by the Swiss naturalist Johann Jakob von Tschudi in 1844 and given the binomial name Cinclus leucocephalus.[2] The type locality is the Junín Province in Peru.[3] The specific epithet leucocephalus combines the Ancient Greek leukos "white" and -kephalos "-headed".[4] Of the five species now placed in the genus, a molecular genetic study has shown that the white-capped dipper is most closely related to the other South American species, the rufous-throated dipper (Cinclus schulzii).[5]

There are three subspecies:[6]

  • C. l. rivularis Bangs, 1899 – north Colombia
  • C. l. leuconotus Sclater, PL, 1858 – west Venezuela to Ecuador
  • C. l. leucocephalus Tschudi, 1844 – Peru and Bolivia


The white-capped dipper is 15–16.5 cm (5.9–6.5 in) in length and weighs 38–59 g (1.3–2.1 oz). The sexes are similar in appearance, but the male is slightly larger than the female. The nominate subspecies has a white nape and crown with fine dark brown streaks. The remaining upperparts are dark brown. The throat is white; the remaining underparts are dark brown. The bill is black and the legs are dark grey. Subspecies rivularis is paler than the nominate and has fine grey spots on the throat. Subspecies leuconotus has a white belly and a large white patch on the upper back.[7]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Cinclus leucocephalus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Tschudi, Johann Jakob von. "Avium conspectus quae in Republica Peruana reperiuntur et pleraeque obser vatae vel collectae sunt in itinere". Archiv für Naturgeschichte (in Latin). 10: 262-317 [279].
  3. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Greenway, James C. Jr, eds. (1960). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 9. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 379.
  4. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2019). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  5. ^ Voelker, Gary (2002). "Molecular phylogenetics and the historical biogeography of dippers (Cinclus)". Ibis. 144 (4): 577–584. doi:10.1046/j.1474-919X.2002.00084.x.
  6. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Dippers, leafbirds, flowerpeckers, sunbirds". World Bird List Version 9.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  7. ^ Ormerod, S.; Tyler, S.; Kirwan, G.M. (2019). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "White-capped Dipper (Cinclus leucocephalus)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 9 February 2019.

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