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.
|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|