Blainville's beaked whale Mesoplodon densirostris Blainville, 1817

Suborder: Odontoceti Family: Ziphiidae

Sightings in Madeira

July and August

ID characteristics

Large dolphin-like body with flattish forehead and indistinct melon
Highly variable body color, from dark grey to warm brown but dark upper side and whitish underside
Falcate dorsal fin set about two thirds back from its beak may be prominent
Arched lower jaw forming bulges around the base of the thick beak. Mature adult males have large teeth projected from the arched lower jaw.

Surface behaviour

When surfacing beak emerge first and head may be partially exposed while breathing.
Very shy whales


Believed to be worldwide between parallels 45º in the North Atlantic and 45º in the South Pacific Ocean.
Warm temperate and tropical waters


1 to 6 individuals


Squid and fish


Max length: 6 m
Adult weight: 1 to 1.3 ton


Projected forward and low, hardly visible

IUCN Status: Data deficient
Madeira frequency status: Rare

Other languages common names

ENG - Dense-beaked whale
GER - Blainville-Schnabelwal, Blainville-Zweizahnwal
FRA - Baleine à bec de Blainville, Mésoplodon de Blainville
ESP - Zifio de Blainville, Ballena de pico de Blainville
SWE - Blainvilles näbbval
DAN - Blainvilles næbhvalen
ITA - Mesoplodonte di De Blainville
NED - Spitssnuitdolfijn van de Blainville
NOR - Blainville er nebbhval
POL - Wieloryb montela Blainville
POR - Baleia de bico grosso

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