Mergellus albellus

Mergellus albellus, Lin.

973. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 818, Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 31 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 310 ; Game Birds of India, Vol. III, p. 293.


Length, 17.0 to 18.1; expanse, 26.3 to 28.7 ; wing, 7.55 to 8.32 ; tail from vent, 3.3 to 4.1 ; tarsus, 1.2 to 1.31 ; bill from gape, 1.63 to 1.72 ; weight, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 lbs.

Length, 15.5 to 16.75; expanse, 23.75 to 26.25 ; wing, 7.01 to 7.3 ; tail, 3.3 to 3.9 ; tarsus, 1.11 to 1.19 ; bill from gape, 1.48 to 1.6 ; weight, 1 to 1 6.5/16 lbs.

The bill is as a rule a delicate pale plumbeous, sometimes a clearer and bluer tint, sometimes duskier,, and in some almost black.

The irides vary from brown to red-brown or even red.

The legs and feet vary from pale blue-grey to plumbeous and dark lavender; webs vary from dusky to black; there is often an olive tinge on the tarsi, and occasionally both these and the toes exhibit small dusky spots and patches.

Male : A large patch on each side of the base of the bill enclosing the eyes, and another longitudinal one on the occiput, black, glossed with green; the rest of the head, occipital crest, and neck white; back, some of the lesser wing-coverts, and the primaries, black; scapulars white, edged with black on the outer webs; secondaries and greater wing-coverts black, tipped with white; some of the lesser wing-coverts white; upper tail-coverts and tail bluish-grey; all the lower parts white, with two crescentic bands of black advancing from the shoulders, one nearly encircling the lower part of the breast, the other the upper part of the breast, flanks, and thigh-coverts with wavy black lines.

The female has the crown, cheeks, and occiput, reddish-brown; the • crest shorter than in the male; back, upper tail-coverts, and tail, deep ashy-grey; wings as in the male, but the dark parts grey instead of black; the throat, sides, and front of the ,upper-neck, and the abdomen, white ; and the lower-neck, breast, and flanks, clouded with ash-color.

The Smew is a cold weather visitant to Sind, and has been recorded from Northern Guzerat. It is an exceedingly wary bird, keeping in the middle of rivers where the water is deepest.

Handbook to the Birds of the Bombay Presidency
Barnes, Henry Edwin. Handbook to the birds of the Bombay Presidency, 1885.
Title in Book: 
Mergellus albellus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Barnes, H. Edwin
Page No: 
Common name: 
Mergellus albellus
Term name: 

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