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Mergus albellus

Map of the common names


Small-sized (L 40 cm), unmistakable because of it size, shape and plumage. Male's unique plumage is white with black eye-patches. Female is chestnut. The breeding ground of Smew occur in lakes, ponds or rivers with nearby forest, mainly coniferous. Feeds mostly on fish and insect larvae. Migrant.

Watercolour by Serge Nicolle

Reasons for the need for protection/inclusion in annex I

The breeding population in the EU has declined during the last two centuries. Now it is estimated about 2,000 pairs. Smew breeding habitat has been subject to several threats including deforestation, conversion to agriculture and destruction due to river canalization. The most destructive factor is now predation by American mink (Mustela vison). Water pollution may also have a negative impact on Smew.

Distribution map

yellow = summer visitor
green = resident
blue = winter visitor

Population : 1,000 / 2,000 pairs

Drawing by Manuel Manolos

back to list of threatened species