Male – The male Smew is mostly white with a black eye patch extending to the beak, a black patch at the base of the crest, a black mantle, a black rump, grey-black markings on the wings, and the legs and feet are greyish.
Female – The female has a brown chestnut head with white cheeks and throat, upper-parts are a mottled grey, and breast, belly, and under-parts are grey-white. Like the Mergansers, the Smew is a sawbill. The beak has a hooked tip and serrated edges which helps when catching fish.
Eclipse – The male in eclipse plumage is very similar to the female but retains more white on the wings.
Size: – Typical Adult is about 16 inches.
Food: – Mainly fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and insect larvae.
Habitat: – Lakes, ponds, and coast in Scandinavia, Russia, and Siberia. Winters in Netherlands, Black Sea, China, Korea, and Japan.
Breeding Season: – April and May.
Eggs: – 6 to 9 (creamy-buff color).
Notes: – The Smew is a sea duck which has a sawbill and feeds mainly on fish and is closely related to the Mergansers (Mergus) and Goldeneyes (Bucephala). The drake has a distinct black and white coloring in flight which led to the nickname ‘White nun’.