Image 133 of 11548
Smew Mergus albellus L 38-44cm. Elegant little diving duck. Male is stunning and unmistakable. Female might be confused with grebe in winter plumage. Sexes are dissimilar. Adult male looks pure white at a distance but close view reveals black patch through eye and black lines on breast and back. In eclipse (not seen here) resembles adult female but retains more extensive white on wing. Adult female, Juvenile and 1st winter birds (so-called ‘Redhead’ Smews) have orange-red cap and nape, white on cheek and throat, and grey-brown body. Voice Silent. Status Occasional and unpredictable winter visitor. Turns up on flooded gravel pits, reservoirs and lakes.