042 Smew
(Mergus albellus)


40-48cm. Medium-sized, compact duck, with large, rounded head like a knob on a fairly short neck. Its crown slightly peaked and shape of head triangular. Bill rather small an triangular. Speculum white rest of underwing appearing blackish. Much white on upper forewing on adults. Breeding male's head is black with green gloss, with large white rounded loral spot. Eye is yellow, breast and flanks white, stern and much upperparts black. It has narrow black scapular lines hanging down over white flanks.


In Hungary the Smew is a regular transient and winter visitor. Typically occurs from October until April on larger rivers and lakes. During migration mainly stays on Lake Balaton, Lake Tisza, Hortobágy, and the Danube as well as fishponds. The highest number overwinter in the Danube bend, where flocks of several hundreds individuals can occur.

042 Smew pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008