Facts about this animal
The smew is a small sea duck strongly aquatic in its lifestyle and an excellent diver. It is characterised by a bills with a hooked tip and serrated edges, used for catching fish. The body-weight of males ranges from 540 to 940 g, of females about from 700 to 800 g.
Males in nuptial plumage are strikingly white with some black bars, a conspicuous black face mask and a frontal crest which is elevated during display. Females and males in eclipse have whitish underparts, a reddish-brown head, and bluish-grey to blackish upper parts
Nest sites are preferably in tree cavities. e.g. old woodpecker nests. 6 to 9 creamy-buff eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female alone for 28 days.
The food of the smew consists mainly of small fish.
Did you know?
that the smew appears to be an evolutionary link between the larger Mergus species and the goldeneyes? Inded smew often associate with common goldeneye and the two species have been known to hybridize. Both readily accept artificial nest boxes, and in some cases broods of mixed species may merge.
|Name (Scientific)||Mergellus albellus|
|Name (French)||Harle piette|
|Name (Spanish)||Serrata chica|
|Local names||Czech: Morcák bílý
Estonian: Väikekoskel, Pudukoskel
Hungarian: Kis bukó
Portuguese: Merganso pequeno
Romansh: Marel pitschen
|CITES Status||Not listed|
|CMS Status||Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.) Included in AEWA|
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|Range||The smew has a wide distribution on the Northern Hemisphere: North Africa: Egypt, vagrants in Algeria and Tunisia Asia: Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, PDR, Korea, Rep., Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan Europe: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, former Yug. Rep., Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Fed., Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and vagrants in some Mediterranean countries. North America: Canada, United States|
|Wild population||The global population is estimated to be 130,000 to 210,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002).|
|Zoo population||223 reported to ISIS (2006).|
In the Zoo
How this animal should be transported
For air transport, Container Note 18 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.
Find this animal on ZooLex
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Why do zoos keep this animal
The smew is not a threatened species. Zoos keep them for educational purposes and as an ambassador species for wetland conservation. Due to its small body size it is a very handy species for being kept in aviaries.