Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae (Borowski, 1781)

Suborder: Mysticeti Family: Balaenopteridae

Sightings in Madeira

April, May, October and November

ID characteristics

Large, uniquely shaped body with black or dark grey upper side
Extremely long arm-like black or white flippers
Head rather slender in profile, flat and covered with knobs and often with barnacles
Broad flukes with irregular, curved and ragged trailing edge.

Surface behaviour

Shows little fear of boats and may be highly inquisitive.
Usually very active at surface, breaching, lobtailing and slapping with its tail or flippers.


Worldwide, between parallels 65º North and 80º South, though with separate populations.
Widely distributed in all oceans.


1 to 3 individuals


Krill, crustaceans and fish


Max length: 18 m
Adult weight: 25 to 30 ton


Broad bushy blow up to 3 meters high

IUCN Status: Least concerned
Madeira frequency status: Rare

Other languages common names

GER - Buckelwal
FRA - Baleine à bosse, Jubarte, Mégaptère, Rorqual à bosse, Rorqual du Cap
ESP - Yubarta, Ballena Jorobada, Gubarte
SWE - Knölval
DAN - Pukkelhval
ITA - Megattera, Balena gobba
NED - Bultrug
NOR - Knølkval, Knølhval,
POL - Długopłetwiec
POR - Baleia de bossa, Baleia jubarte, Baleia preta, Baleia corcunda, Baleia cantora

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