Types of Whales

© Jean Tresfon
Find out all you need to know about the different types of whales and their habitats.

Arnouxs Beaked Whale

Arnouxs Beaked Whale has a bulbous melon and a spindle-shaped body. Pronounced, dolphin-like beak with front teeth visible when mouth closed. Extensively scarred body with broad, flat back....more

Blainvilles Beaked Whale

Blainvilles Beaked Whale is one of the oddest looking of all cetaceans. Flattened forehead and large spots all over its body, possibly made by the teeth of sharks and parasites, are also characteristic....more

Blue Whale

The Blue Whale boasts an enormous size. Streamlined body and a long, thin head and chest; about 40 throat grooves; long ridge from just behind snout to the blowhole....more

Brydes Whale

Brydes Whale has a broad flattened tail stock with slender, relatively short flippers, prominent dorsal fin with trailing edge, sometimes notched or frayed.....more

Cuviers Beaked Whale

Cuviers Beaked Whale is found stranded more often that most other beaked whales and appears to be one of the most widespread and abundant of the beaked whales...more

Dwarf Sperm Whale

The Dwarf Sperm Whale appears to prefer warmer waters and seems to be especially common off the southern tip of Africa and in the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), Mexico, where it occurs particularly close to shore....more

False Killer Whale

The False Killer Whale is a pelagic and widespread cetacean that favours tropical and temperate waters.  The False Killer Whale is completely black, except for a grey area between the pectorals on the ventral side....more

Fin Whale

The Fin Whale is the second largest animal on earth. Long streamlined body, and shows very little scarring. The asymmetry characteristic of a Fin Whale's head can be very extensive and, on some animals...more

Grays Beaked Whale

Grays Beaked Whale has a small head with flat forehead with indentation at blowhole. Fairly straight mouthline with long white slender beak....more

Hectors Beaked Whale

The Hectors Beaked Whale has a smallish head, slight melon with distinctive crescent-shaped blowhole. Small, triangular teeth set near tip of jaw may have stalked barnacles attached...more

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale Pods of about five to 10 may herd prey. Individuals may blow a circle of bubbles, called a 'bubble net', and then swallow the trapped zooplankton....more

Killer Whale

The Killer Whale is at the top of the marine world's feeding chain (cephalopods, birds, fish, reptiles, and marine mammals of all sizes). When in groups, the Killer Whale attacks large cetaceans....more

Layards Beaked Whale

Layards Beaked Whale is the largest member of the genus Mesoplodon, is a relative slender animal with a distinct forehead and a long, slender beak....more

Long - Finned Pilot Whale

The body of the Long-Finned Pilot Whale is long and sturdy, with a front that is more massive than the back. The peduncle is laterally compressed....more

Melon-Headed Whale

The Melon-Headed Whale has a long and fusiform body, and its head is more pointed than that of the Pygmy Killer Whale. There is no rostrum....more

Minke Whale

The Minke Whale head shape and relatively unscarred skin should be sufficient to tell a Minke from most beaked whales. Sharply pointed snout. 50 - 60 throat groove...more

Pygmy Killer Whale

The Pygmy Killer Whale has a slender body, with a laterally compressed and somewhat stocky posterior half. The rounded head has a convex, elongated profile...more

Pygmy Right Whale

The Pygmy Right Whale is the smallest and least known of all the baleen whales. It is seldom seen at sea and confirmed sightings are very rare....more

Pygmy Sperm Whale

Pygmy Sperm Whales are small in size, robust body with squarish head which looks conical when viewed from above with false gill behind each eye. Body may appear wrinkled. It may resemble a shark...more

Sei Whale

The Sei Whale has a slender head. The head can be between one-fifth and one-quarter of its body length, which increases with age....more

Short-finned Pilot Whale

The adult Short-finned Pilot Whale's body morphology is identical to that of the Long-finned Pilot Whale. The body is sturdy and long, with a predominant melon that develops with age....more

Southern Bottlenose Whale

The Southern Bottlenose Whale has an extremely bulbous forehead, which is more pronounced in older animals and most distinct in adult males, in old males, the front of the forehead is almost vertical and flat....more

Southern Right Whale

The Southern Right Whale is a migratory Whale, which means that they spend one season in one place and the rest of the year in another...more

Sperm Whale

Sperm Whale. Widely distributed in deep waters worldwide, both offshore and inshore...more

Trues Beaked Whale

Trues Beaked Whale. There may be 2 forms of this species; the best-known one lives in the North Atlantic, the other is found in parts of the southern hemisphere...more
Whale Watching South Africa : Whale Trail Hermanus, Cape Whale Coast, Garden Route
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