False killer whale Pseudorca crassidens (Owen, 1846)

Suborder: Odontoceti Family: Delphinidae

Sightings in Madeira

July to November

ID characteristics

Uniformly black, long and slender body.
Conical head with a low but quite pronounce melon-like forehead
Erect, falcate dorsal fin, narrow-based, like a parallelogram with roundish top, set on mid-back.

Surface behaviour

Typically fast moving, energetic and acrobatic.
Often approaches boats and bow-rides
When surfacing may raise head and much of body out of the water


Widespread between parallels 45º North and 50º South
Worldwide in deep tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters


In groups of 10 to 50 individuals


Squid, fish and sometimes seals


Max length: 6.1 m
Adult weight: 1 to 2.2 ton


Short, bushy shaped blow

IUCN Status: Data deficient
Madeira frequency status: Common

Other languages common names

ENG - False pilot whale, Pseudorca
GER - Kleine schwertwal, Unechter, Schwarzer schwertwal
FRA - Fausse orque
ESP - Falsa orca, Orca negra
SWE - Falsk späckhuggare
DAN - Halvspækhuggeren
ITA - Pseudorca
NED - Zwarte zwaardwalvis
NOR - Halvspekkhoggar, Falsk spekkhoggar
POL - Orka karłowata, Szablogrzbiet, Orka fałszywa
POR - Falsa orca

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