Beaked whales are a cetacean family that includes 21 species.  Despite being the second largest Family, they are one of the least known. These strictly oceanic, deep diving whales have an inconspicuous surfacing behaviour and are hard to observe at sea.

The most commonly observed of this group is the Cuvier’s beaked whale.

©T. Jefferson

In the Azores, Beaked whales can be seen throughout the year. However, sightings confirmed as Cuvier’s beaked whales, are more abundant in July and August.

When at close range, the  concave white head and small beak make this species one of the easiest of the group to identify. Furthermore, males have a small pair of teeth at the extremity of the lower jaw. Females and juveniles are effectively toothless as the teeth are concealed by the gum.

Male Cuvier’s Beaked whale ©M. Rosso – CIMA Foundation

Did you know ? Due to the lack of teeth, the capture cephalopods, fish and crustaceans is made by suction!

Catarina Fonseca

About Catarina Fonseca

Catarina is Marine Biologist and was Main Guide and Technical & Scientific Director at TERRA AZUL from 2014 to 2017. She is dedicated, knowledgeable and a passionate friend to animals and humans. We hope she can come back soon to wildlife experiences with us. , and everyday works on ensuring the highest educational and conservation standards during spractice. She also contributes collecting Data collection for MONICET – The Azores Islands Cetaceans Research & Conservation long-term monitoring project.

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