smew defined in 1930 yearsmew - Smew;
smew - Forehead, crown, with crest, throat, neck and under parts satin- white; a black patch before and below the eye. and a greenish black triangular patch on the crest; back black, with a crescentic mottled band of the same colour stretching over each side of the shoulders, and another in front of each wing; scapulars white margined with black; lesser wing-coverts white; greater coverts black, with two narrow white bars; wing- and tail-feathers blackish brown; flanks vermiculated with grey; bill, legs, and feet lead-colour. Length, seventeen inches. Female: head reddish brown; collar ash-grey; rest of the plumage much as in the male. In June the male assumes the female plumage, which is retained until the autumn.
The smew, or nun, as it is sometimes called, is usually placed among the irregular visitors to the British Islands, and hardly comes within the scope of this book; but there is reason to believe that it is present every winter, although sometimes in very small numbers, in the seas around our coasts; and it has, therefore, some claim to be described as a British species. Females and immature birds, called red-headed smews by fishermen, are frequently met with on the east coasts of England and Scotland; males in the beautiful mature plumage are very rare, it is supposed because they do not approach the shore, except in very severe weather.
In its breeding habits the smew resembles the goosander, laying its eggs in the trunk of a hollow tree. Finnish Lapland is said to be the western limits of its breeding range.
near smew in Knolik
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