Gervais' beaked whale Mesoplodon europaeus (Gervais, 1855)

Suborder: Odontoceti Family: Ziphiidae

Sightings in Madeira

April to June

ID characteristics

Robust, medium sized beaked whale mainly bluish grey to grey on the upperside and whitish below.
Small, narrow head with indistinct melon and mid-length beak
Mature male has a pair of teeth that erupt towards the tip of jawline
Small dorsal fin with variable shape, from shark-like to curved with a rounded tip

Surface behaviour

Rarely seen at sea and it probably avoids vessels.
When surfacing beak emerges first.


Central and North Atlantic Ocean whale ranging from 50º North to 15º South
Deep subtropical and warm waters of the North and Central Atlantic


In groups between 2 to 5 individuals




Max length: 5.2 m
Adult weight: 1 to 2 ton


Weak and difficult to see at sea

IUCN Status: Data deficient
Madeira frequency status: Rare

Other languages common names

ENG - Antillian beaked whale, Gulf Stream beaked whale, or European beaked whale
GER - Gervais-Zweizahnwal, Europäischer Schnabelwal
FRA - Mésoplodon De Gervais
ESP - Zifio de Gervais, Zifio europeo, Ballena de pico de Gervais
DAN - Gervais' næbhval
ITA - Mesoplodonte di Gervais
NED - Spitssnuitdolfijn van Gervais
POL - Wal europejski
POR - Baleia de bico de Gervais, Baleia bicuda de Gervais

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