Humpbacked whales are recognised by their long, narrow flippers, almost 1/3 of their body length. They have about 30 throat grooves and a small dorsal fin which is positioned far back. They vary in colour, some being completely white. The males sing complex melodies to communicate over long distances. Song themes are repeated for up to 20 minutes and change from year to year. They are seen during their migration between breeding grounds off Mozambique and their summer feeding grounds in Antarctica (between June and December). They eat krill which they catch by circling beneath them while releasing a 'curtain of bubbles' to concentrate their prey.
HUMPBACK WHALE: Megaptera novaeangliae. Dist: all oceans. L: 14m W: 40t
BREACHING: Leaping out of the water, twisting & crashing back into the sea. Perhaps to dislodge parasites & communicate with other whales.
TAILS LOBS: Lifting the tail out of the water & slamming it down onto the surface making a loud noise.
BLOWING: Whales surface to breathe through nostrils (blowholes) located on the top of the head. Exhaling forms a ‘v' shaped spray called a blow.
SPY HOPPING: Whales' eyes are situated low in the head, so to observe the surroundings they lift the head vertically out of the water.
BODY ROLLS: Sometimes rolling near the surface, females avoid male advances & calves wanting to suckle.
TAIL LIFTS: Lifting the tail just above the surface using the flippers for support, the tail acts as a sail.