Scientific name: Orcinus orca
Family: Delphinidae
Range: All oceans, prefers cooler waters
Habitat: Coastal and oceanic waters
Status: Locally common
Population: In excess of 100,000
Diet: Varied, from fish and squid to marine mammals
Length: 6-9.8m, males larger than females
Weight: 3.3-10 tons



Slightly concave trailing edges and distinct notch. Upper side is dark and underside pale.

Dorsal Fin

Tall dorsal fin is slightly forward of midline. Triangular in adult males and curved in adult females.


Black or dark grey, broad with rounded tips.

Head Shape

Slightly rounded melon and gently tapered snout. Upper head in black with a bold white patch behind each eye. Chin and throat are white.


Black upper body with grey “saddle patch” just behind dorsal fin. Bold white curved patch extends into each flank from the white underside.


Low and bushy, visible in cool, still air.

Group Size

Usually in family or social groups (pods) of 3-25. Several pods may gather temporarily.


Often inquisitive and playful and may breach, lobtail, flipper-slap and spyhop. Sometimes rolls to slap dorsal fin on the surface. When travelling, a common dive pattern is 4-5 dives of less than 30 seconds each, followed by a longer dive of 5-10 minutes.