Smew (Mergellus albellus)
Male Smew, Flevoland, Netherlands, February 2001 - click for larger image Flevoland, Netherlands (first 2 photos)
Captive Bird, WWT Barnes, London (next 2 photos)

The Smew is one of 3 species of Sawbills that occurs in Europe the others being Goosander (Mergus merganser) and Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator). Sawbills are diving ducks with a small hook at the tip of the bill which also has a serrated edge enabling better grip of fish, its main prey.

Female Smew, Flevoland, Netherlands, February 2001 - click for larger image The male in its breeding plumage is unmistakable while the female, juvenile and eclipse plumage males all look very similar with their "red head".

During the breeding season they live in freshwater lakes and rivers in the coniferous forests to the very north of Europe and Asia. Like the Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), with which it sometimes interbreeds, it nests in tree hollows.

Male Smew (Captive Bird), WWT Barnes, London, June 2001 - click for larger imageSmew winter from England through Central Europe and southern Russia to China and Japan.

There is an illustration in HBW, Volume 1, Page 624.

Male Smew (Captive Bird), WWT Barnes, London, June 2001 - click for larger image
Previous Page Back to Index Next Page

If you do not see a menu on the left, you may have arrived at this page from another site. Please click Home to get to my main page.