Orca / Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)


This is one of the Elding crew's favourite species so excitement is especially high when we get to see these amazing animals. Occasionally they venture into Faxaflói Bay but chances of seeing them are greater when we sail from other harbours. They are the largest of the dolphins and the male dorsal fin can get up to 1.8m high and very triangular whereas the females dorsals are curved. Each group is thought to have their own dialect and males stay with their mothers throughout their lives. They hunt like wolves, perfectly choreographed, some families feeding on marine mammals and some families only eating fish. Keiko (Free Willy) actually came from Iceland and so his family could be seen on our tours.

Length: 6-10 meters
Weight: 5-9 tons
Life expectancy: 30 years for males, 50 years for females
Est. population around Iceland: 5000
Social behaviour: Very social, usual group size is between 3-50
Diet: Fish, squid, (marine mammals for some families)
Suborder: Odontoceti – Toothed Whale
Family: Delphinidae
IUCN Listing: Data deficient
Major threats: Climate change, chemical and noise pollution, human disturbance, ship strikes, capture for captivity
Other Names: Háhyrningur, Schwertwal, Orque,épaulard, Espadarte, Spækhugger, Spekkhogger