Bryde’s whale

Balaenoptera edeni
Bryde’s whale
Bryde’s whale

Appearance

Size: max 11.5-15.5m

Key features:
- Narrow, hazy blow
- Large slender body
- Three parallel ridges on forehead
- Tailstock arched when diving

The Bryde’s whale (pronounced ‘broo-does’) appears mottled in skin colouration with a slender body and blue-grey in colour. It has three parallel ridges on the top of its head which when at sea is the key identification feature of this whale species. It can easily be confused with a sei whale due to its size and shape.


Behaviour

Bryde’s whales are typically seen alone particularly when feeding. They are sometimes inquisitive and may approach boats. It has an irregular breathing pattern and will often blow quickly before diving. When surfacing between dives the Bryde’s whale rarely shows more than the top of its head.

Distribution

Unlike most baleen whales Bryde’s whales spend the whole year in tropical and subtropical waters preferring waters that are over 20°C. They only make short migrations or none at all and rarely visit temperate or cold waters. There are separate inshore and offshore populations in other parts of the world differing slightly in appearance and behaviour.

Threats

It is believed Bryde’s whales used to be hunted, and in 2000 the Japanese whalers started hunting them again for ‘scientific research’. Bryde’s whales are also threatened by noise and chemical pollution.

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