Little is known about the specific habitats used by north Pacific right whales. They primarily occur in coastal or shelf waters, though they have also been observed moving through deep waters. They migrate to higher latitudes during the spring and summer, and much of their distribution is strongly correlated to the distribution of their prey. North Pacific right whiles occupy four habitats based on use: feeding, calving, nursery, and breeding areas. Feeding areas are visited seasonally and have dense populations of copepod and krill. Calving areas are used for calving and neonatal nursing. During the winter, many right whales feed and suckle their young in nursery areas, which are generally located in shallow, coastal waters at low latitudes. Other winter habitat is unknown. Finally, conception occurs in breeding areas. However, there is no evidence of breeding aggregations of north Pacific right whales in winter, as with their close relative southern right whales. During the summer, the majority of the population of north Pacific right whales can be found the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Sea of Okhotsk and northern North Pacific during summer. North Pacific right whales pass through the southeastern Bering Sea only for a few days at a time and mainly from July to October (but as early as May and as late as December).
Habitat Regions: temperate ; polar ; saltwater or marine
Aquatic Biomes: pelagic ; coastal
- NOAA Fisheries, , OPR. 2010. "Northern Pacifc Right Whale" (On-line). Office of Protected Resources. Accessed October 11, 2010 at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/rightwhale_northpacific.htm.