Libman19's picture

Beaked whale, what species ?

Observed: 25th September 2013 By: Libman19Libman19’s reputation in Mammals

Seen from the Portsmouth - Santander ferry. A terrible photo, but these were right off in the distance. Initially thought them to be Cuvier's, but not so sure now that I have a blown-up image.

    Likely ID
    Beaked whale sp.
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


trudy-russell's picture

What a great thing to see

What a great thing to see such an odd looking group of animals, I saw a cuviers and another species we couldn't identify a couple of years ago on the same ferry. There are 6 species recorded in the UK, Cuviers & northern bottlenose are the 2 that are easiest(comparatively) ID the other 4 Sowerby's, True's, Gervais & Blainville's are very hard to ID at sea. Three of which can only be separated by the location of the protruding teeth on adult males which you would need to be much closer to see! Looking at the photo I don't think its a northern bottlenose as the melon seems too small and I don't think I could rule out any of the others but a cetacean experts might ?

Trudy Russell
Marine Advisor
Natural England

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Libman19's picture

Beaked whale

Hello Trudy, thank you for your comments regarding this unidentified cetacean. I am a member of Orca and took the picture on the last of this year's "I spy whales" trips: Chris Packham was on board with us - you can read the full account of the trip on the site.

We saw several Cuvier's and also Northern Bottlenose that day, but this animal just looks (to me) quite different. At maximum magnification, I can almost convince myself that there is a suggestion of something white, half-way along the lower jaw. If this is so, then it could possibly be a Sowerby's.
I suppose it's impossible to say though.