Smew

Mergellus albellus

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

Smew

Code 6

MERALB

ITIS

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Breeding Location:

Forest



Breeding Type:

Monogamous



Breeding Population:

Rare, Accidental in North America



Egg Color:

Creamy white



Number of Eggs:

6 - 9



Incubation Days:

26



Egg Incubator:

Female



Nest Material:

Lined with down.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Smew: Small merganser with mostly white body except for black back, mask, breast bar, and V-shaped nape patch. Wings are dark with large white patches. Female is pale gray with white throat and face that contrast sharply with dark brown crown and black mask.

Range and Habitat

Smew: Eurasian species, rare fall and winter visitor in western Aleutians; casual on Pribilofs; accidental in many regions of the U.S., including Washington, Oregon, California, along the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes region, and Massachusetts. Preferred habitats include lakes, bays, and rivers.

Breeding and Nesting

Smew: Six to nine creamy white eggs are laid in a tree hole lined with down, usually close to the ground, and near water. Eggs are incubated for 26 days by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Smew: Feeds on aquatic insects and small fish; forages by diving from the surface, swimming underwater to pursue prey.

Vocalization

Smew: Gives a sharp "krrr" note.

Similar Species

Smew: Steller’s Eider has brown breast and belly.

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BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X