River walks are by far one of my favourite past times, especially when i have my camera with me. Rivers provide a great food source for all kinds of wildlife so you never know what you will come across. Like the dipper which has evolved some fascinating adaptations to help it thrive in the freshwater habitat.
Firstly, the dipper gets its name from the way it moves along the rocks by bobbing and dipping along as it goes. It’s diet consists of invertebrates and small fish which it forages for under the fast flowing water. Due to this way of hunting, the dipper has evolved to be incredibly strong and agile in the water. It’s wings are broad and thick which help them move and balance in the water. Unlike most terrestrial birds which have hollow bones to make them lightweight, the dipper has adapted solid bones which decrease buoyancy, aiding them in hunting underwater. Another great adaptation lies within their blood, the dipper boasts a higher haemoglobin count providing more oxygen to be stored within the body at one time. This ability to store more oxygen than other terrestrial birds allows the dipper to stay under water for at least 30 seconds! They are also kitted out with one way flaps within their nostrils to stop water getting in and have impeccable vision under water.
A professional full-time diver of the natural world.