Smew - Mergus albellus
The Smew is a small compact diving duck with a delicate bill. The male is white with a black mask and back; the female is grey with a reddish-brown head and white cheek. In flight, it shows black and white wings. It is a winter visitor in small numbers from Scandinavia and Russia. Sometimes birds move here from Holland and Denmark to escape freezing weather there.
Most are found south of a line between the Wash and the Severn. Birds sometimes turn up on quite small areas of water so it's worth looking out for at any inland lake in winter, particularly in very cold weather.
December to March.
It breeds in the northern taiga of Europe and Asia using trees holes such as old woodpecker nests. It lives on fish-rich lakes and slow rivers.
Widespread but uncommon
An uncommon winter bird in Leicestershire and Rutland
Leicestershire & Rutland Map
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