Northern right whales tend to skim near the surface of the water feeding on small copepods, krill, and euphausiids. The whales swim along the surface, or just below, with their mouth open, skimming the zooplankton from the water. The water passes through a series of large baleen plates which filter out the food. The whale will skim the surface for a while, then close its mouth and push its tongue against the baleen to collect its meal. Whales tend not to feed until they find large concentrations of food. When they find these concentrations, they swim through the mass, making accurate adjustments to their course in order to maximize their intake (Slijper 1979, Evans 1987).
Animal Foods: aquatic crustaceans; zooplankton
Foraging Behavior: filter-feeding
Primary Diet: planktivore