Monday, July 30, 2007

Sowerby's beaked whale fact sheet

The sowerby's beaked whale was the first of the beaked whales to be discovered from an individual stranded in the year of 1800.  It is one of the most commonly stranded species of beaked whale, and have one of the most northerly distributions. Although they appear to be relatively common around the Azores, they are not often seen on the surface. This is often the case with members of the beaked whale family that spend very little time on the surface and avoid boats. 

The sowerby's beaked whale may be identified from the shape of its head and its long slender beak which it brings out of the water upon surfacing, and as other Mesoplodons they don't have the middle notch on the fluke. However, identification is difficult and is often only possibly if the individual is stranded. When stranded they make a sound similar to that of a cow mooing. Sowerby's beaked whales are usually seen in very small groups of fewer than 10 individuals. As with other beaked whales, little is known about their behaviour.

• Male: 5.5 m
• Female: 5.1 m
• Calf: 2.4 m


• Male: 1,300 kg
• Female: 1,300 kg
• Calf: 170 – 185 kg

Global population: Unknown 
(population trend unknown)

Status: Data Deficient

Diet: Squid, small fish

Teeth: 2 in the lower jaw (only males)

Longevity: 35 years

Breeding age: Unknown

Gestation: 12 months

Nursing: 1 year

In other languages
Portuguese: Baleia-de-bico-de-Sowerby
Spanish: Zifio de Sowerby
French: Baleine de Sowerby
Italian: Mesoplodonte di Sowerby
German: Sowerby-Zweizahnwal, Nordsee-Schnabelwal
Dutch: Gewone spitssnuitdolfijn, Noordzee-spitssnuitdolfijn
Swedish: Nordsjönäbbval, Sowerbys näbbval
Norwegian: Nordspisshvalspisshval, Sowerbys spisshval
Danish: Almindelig næbhval
Finnish: -
Polish: Wal dwuzębny, delfin Soverby’ego

Video of Sowerby's beaked whales breaching

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