The habitat requirements of all the dippers are extremely uniform throughout the genus; they need fast-flowing, well-oxygenated streams, not usually very deep, with generally clear water with little sediment or turbidity. So long as there remain large enough areas of unfrozen water they can withstand very severe conditions, being found in winter in central Asia in temperatures dropping to —40°F (—40°C) or lower. Where too much of their habitat freezes they may move to lower altitudes or migrate to warmer areas. Dippers also occur, especially outside the breeding season, on the shores of mountain lakes, in beaver ponds, and occasionally on rocky sea-shores.

A second habitat requirement is rock-faces with crevices for siting of nests; artificial sites such as bridge trestles frequently suffice for this purpose.

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