Micke Grove Zoo

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Mergellus albellus

Habitat: Inland water bodies, lakes, backwaters of slow flowing rivers, flooded riverside woods, forest zones

Range: Extremely large range, covering parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America.

Natural Diet: During breeding season, smew eat adult and larval insects, crustaceans, mollusks and worms, as well as amphibians, fish and plant matter (seeds, leaves and roots). During the winter and in early spring, the species mainly feeds on fish.

Status In The Wild: Common (Least Concern)


Fun Animal Facts

The Smew is a species of duck that lives in the northern taiga region in Europe and Asia. The male's breeding plumage is black and white in color. In the nonbreeding season, the males look similar to the females with a dark reddish-brown head and greyish-black wing feathers. Their bills are hook-shaped with serrated edges. They are 15 to 17 inches long. The female lays 6 to 9 cream-colored eggs in each clutch. They nest in tree holes.


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The male, on the right, is black and white in color during the breeding season

Distributional range [Photo courtesy: IUCN red list for threatened species]