White-beaked dolphin

Lagenorhynchus albirostris
White-beaked dolphin

Appearance

Size: max 2.4-3.1m

Key features:
- Robust body
- White, grey and black markings on body

White-beaked dolphins are relatively large stocky dolphins with a distinct colouring. They have a small obvious beak but it’s not always white. They have white underbellies as far back as the tail stock and a tall dorsal fin. Their most useful identification feature is the white and pale grey markings on their flanks (sides), the most distinctive being a pale grey area theat extends from the dorsal fin towards the tail stock, giving the impression of a 'saddle patch'.


Behaviour

White-beaked dolphins are fast, powerful swimmers which can be very active bow riding and swimming in the wake of ships. They are sociable animals and are sometimes seen with bottlenose dolphins particularly within the North Sea. White-beaked dolphins are typically seen in small groups of up to 20 individuals.

Distribution

The white-beaked dolphin is confined to the cool temperate and subarctic waters of the North Atlantic, preferring shelf waters around the Scottish coast and North Sea. ORCA's data from 2006-2015 suggests a seasonal occurrence of white-beaked dolphins within the North Sea, with encounters peaking in July and being seen more commonly inshore than offshore.

Threats

The major threats towards white-beaked dolphins include entanglement in fishing gear, being caught as bycatch and the overfishing of their prey. They have also been hunted in the past for meat in Norway, Faroe Islands and Greenland.

Sightings Map

  • Zoom in by using the scroll on your mouse or using the + and - buttons on the map.
  • Click and drag the map to move it around and see different areas.
  • Click on each icon on the map to find out the date, time, latitude, longitude, route, vessel, species, and group size seen for that species at that point.


Whale watching

Watch

Join in on a Sea Safari Whale Watching trip
Train with us

Train

Become an ORCA Wildlife Officer
Volunteer with ORCA

Volunteer

Become a Marine Mammal Surveyor & volunteer in offshore surveys

Support ORCA

There are many ways you can help ORCA to continue its vital work

Get involved

Become a surveyor

All you need is a passion for whales and dolphins and to take an ORCA Marine Mammal Surveyor course, which will teach you everything you need to know to become a citizen scientist.

Book a sea safari

ORCA partner with Brittany Ferries to offer our unforgettable Sea Safari trips each summer, where you can see some of the wonders of the ocean right on our doorstep.