Northern Bottlenose Whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus)


Northern bottlenose whales are found only in the North Atlantic and are the largest members of the beaked whale family Ziphiidae in the North Atlantic Ocean. They were last seen in Faxafloi Bay on one of our tours in 2008, usually observed in the north of Iceland. A defining characteristic of this species is the large bulbous forehead and the stubby beak is well defined and a pointed triangular or falcate dorsal fin set well back on the body.

Northern Bottlenose Whales are inquisitive and often approach boats, where they can remain for some time. They can be found in groups of between 4 and 20 individuals. They are able to dive down to 1,400m deep and stay submerged up to 2 hours long. A more typical dive lasts less than ten minutes.

Commercial whaling drastically reduced their numbers in previous years and although no longer the target of such large-scale hunts, the species is still taken in small drive-hunts in the Faroe Islands.

Length: 12-15 meters
Weight: 14-40 tons
Life expectancy: 60-70  years
Est.population around Iceland: About 11.000
Social behavior: Pod of 4 -20 animals
Diet: Primarily squid eaters but also fish, sea cucumbers, starfish and prawns
Suborder: Odontoceti  - Toothed Whale
Family: Ziphiidae – Beaked Whale
IUCN Listing: Data Deficient
Major Threats: Commercial hunting, climate change, chemical and noise pollution and competition with squid fisheries
Icelandic Name: Andanefja