Humpback whales according to MammalMAP
Known for their songs that travel to great distances, these massive 40 tonne mammals are one of the most easily recognised whale species.
Humpback whales have long flippers that are almost a third of their body size, a hump on their backs as their common name suggests and a black and white tail fluke. The variation in tail fluke coloration helps scientist to identify individuals within the family group known as a pod.
Humpbacks are a widespread species, occurring in oceans around the world. They migrate up to 25 000 km each year. This migration is from the humpbacks feeding ground in the polar regions to tropical and subtropical waters where they give birth to their young. How? Humpback whales are powerful swimmers. Their strong tail fluke propels them through the water and help the whales to propel itself out the water – a behaviour known as breaching.
Humpback whales feed on mostly krill and small schools of fish. Humpbacks can hunt alone by hitting the water with its pectoral fins or its tail fluke in order to stun its prey. It can also hunt by cooperating with other humpback whales using a method called bubble net feeding. A group of whales will swim in a shrinking circle, blowing bubbles beneath a school of prey until they are confined into a concentrated column. The whales then swim upward into the net of bubbles with their mouths open and swallow many fish in one gulp.
Female humpback whales only have one calf at a time. These calves will be suckled by their mothers for approximately 5 months. Mothers and calves swim close together, often touching one another with their flippers with what appear to be gestures of affection.
The IUCN has removed humpback whales from the Vulnerable species listing and currently lists these whales as a species of Least Concern. However, there is information lacking on discrete populations.
No one has provided updates yet.