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Published on May 4th, 2013 | by Yellow Magpie

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Bryde’s Whale: The Midsized Warm Water Whale

Bryde’s Whale Head Photo By Wayne Hoggard NOAA US NMFS

Refusing easy categorisations, Bryde’s whales display some of the most unpredictable behaviours of all the cetaceans. Not quite as well-known as some of its more famous cousins such as the Blue and Sperm whales, the Bryde’s Whale is a lover of warm waters and appears to dislike solo travel.

Streamlined Appearance

Bryde’s whales are two-toned. Underneath their underside is a bright white while the rest of their body is grey in colour. They have a very streamlined, tightly tapered appearance. Mid-sized – they are smaller than Fin and Gray whales.

Bryde's Whale Aerial Photo By Wayne Hoggard NOAA US NMFS

Bryde’s whales have their dorsal fins located roughly two thirds along their back. Like the Sei whale the fin is rather vertical in inclination. Unlike most other whales the tail fluke of a Bryde’s whale never breaches the surface when they are diving.

Varied Diet And Feeding Methods

Bryde’s whales feed on various types of small crustaceans and fish. They are baleen whales which means instead of teeth they have long hairs called baleen which they use to trap food while straining out water.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bryde’s whales have been observed using various feeding strategies such as skimming the surface and lunging from below. In short bursts they can reach up to 25 kilometres (15 miles) per hour. They are even thought to use bubble nets in a similar to fashion to Humpback whales.

Bryde's Whale Dorsal Fin Photo By Wayne Hoggard NOAA NMFS

Social Behaviours

Bryde’s whales’ pattern of diving is highly irregular and usually lasts between five and 15 minutes. Occasionally they will dive for 20 minutes.

One of the strangest puzzles that remains to be solved is why Bryde’s whales suddenly change direction. So far an explanation has eluded all.

Not one for social isolation Bryde’s whales are usually found in pairs. Although they do sometimes congregate in groups of up to twenty when they are feeding.

Bryde's Whale Blowholes Photo By Wayne Hoggard NOAA NMFS

Legacy Of Whaling

Bryde’s whales, unlike other species, have not been hunted in the same numbers by whalers. In the 20th century roughly 20,000 individuals were killed by whaling. It was only when other species numbers declined that they were actively hunted.

Currently the Bryde’s whale population is estimated to number up to 100,000. Today their main threats come from accidental collisions with ships and disruption to their ability to communicate. This is due to the increasing amount of man-made noise pollution in our oceans.

Bryde's Whale Photo By Sophie Webb NOAA NMFS

Vital Statistics

  • Bryde’s Whales can be up to 15 metres (50 feet) in length.
  • They can weigh in excess of 25 tonnes.
  • Brydes Whales are found in warm and temperate salt-water.
  • They are thought to live to be 50 years old. Though more research is needed.

Recommended Reading

Visit Wikipedia for more information on the Bryde’s Whale.

Check out Yellow Magpie’s The Whales: Kings Of The Cetaceans, Fin Whale: The Giant Speedster Of The Oceans and Our Love Affair With Our Favourite Cetacean for further insight into Whales and their cetacean cousins.

Among Giants: A Life With Whales is the fascinating story of underwater photographer, Charles ‘Flip’ Nicklin. Full of splendid pictures and insightful commentary about the whales this book is stunning.

You can obtain Among Giants: A Life with Whales here from Amazon.

Amazon.co.uk
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access: Among Giants: A Life with Whales from here.

Amazon.ca
For Canada: Among Giants: A Life with Whales.

Amazon.de
For Germany: Among Giants: A Life with Whales.

Amazon.fr
For France: Among Giants: A Life with Whales.


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One Response to Bryde’s Whale: The Midsized Warm Water Whale

  1. Pingback: Sei Whale: The Cheetah Of The Ocean And Third-Largest Rorqual

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