White Beaked Dolphin

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White Beaked Dolphin

The white beaked dolphin is the most common dolphin to be seen in waters around Europe. It is only found in the North Atlantic Ocean, in a band which stretches from Cape Cod to France and extends northwards up to Greenland. It is commonly confused with the Atlantic white-sided dolphin but there are many differences between the two which are easy to spot if you know what you are looking for.

The two are rarely found in the same stretches of water, as the white beaked dolphin is often found in waters much further north than the white-sided dolphin. The white beaked dolphin also lacks the yellow streaks on its side and is typically noticeably larger than the white-sided dolphin. Fully mature adults grow to lengths between 7 and 10 feet and can weigh anything from 400 – 800 lb. When they are first born, calves measure nearly 4 feet in length and weigh approximately 90 lb.

There is still much more research which needs to be conducted into the behavior, life cycle and characteristics of the white beaked dolphin. Scientists are unsure as to exactly how many there are in existence in the wild; how long their gestation period is; how long they nurse their young for; how big their pods typically are and at what age they reach sexual maturity. What we do know is that they are incredibly social dolphins. They are constantly reported to be riding bow waves in European waters and perform active acrobatic displays for watching humans. They are also often spotted in the company of other species of dolphin such as killer whales and have been seen in feeding groups with fin whales and humpback whales.

The numbers of white beaked dolphins living happily in the wild have not seemed to diminish over the last few decades and for this reason their conservation status is of ‘least concern’. Although they are not in any immediate danger of extinction, they do feature on one of the appendices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals as it has been agreed that they would benefit from international agreements to co-operate in the protection of the seas.

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White Beaked Dolphin


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