Scientific name: Balaenoptera musculus
Family: Balaenopteridae
Range: All oceans
Habitat: Oceanic waters
Status: Endangered
Population: 8,000 – 12,000
Diet: Crustaceans, especially krill and schooling fish
Length: 23 – 30 m; females larger than males
Weight 110 – 143 tons



Flukes are occasionally raised before a dive. Tail stock is very thick. Flukes are elongate with a slight notch in the middle.

Dorsal Fin

Dorsal fin is stubby and set far back on the body. Less prominent than on fin whales.


Flippers are blue-gray. Long and slender.

Head Shape

Head is broad and flattened. Narrow in profile. Large splashguard.


Streamlined body is extremely long. Back and flanks are dark bluish gray, mottled with paler gray blotches. Underside is white or pale blue-gray.


Tall, narrow blow up to 10m high.

Group Size

Usually found singly or in paris, with larger groups at good feeding grounds.


Approachable, but swims rapidly if disturbed. Youngsters breach, but adults only rarely. When undisturbed, dives of 5-20 minutes may be followed by 12-18 blows at 10- to 20-second intervals.