Pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps (Blainville, 1838)

Suborder: Odontoceti Family: Kogiidae

Sightings in Madeira

July, August and December

ID characteristics

Small, robust, dark blue-grey body with wrinkled skin and white or pinkish undersides
Squarish, short head with distinct hump at the rear back
Very small, hooked, rounded dorsal fin set well behind mid-back

Surface behaviour

Difficult whale to see except in very calm seas
Very slow swimmer and may float motionless at surface
Normally sinks below surface though sometimes rolls when diving


Worldwide between parallels 40º North and 40º South
Deep temperate and tropical waters, mainly beyond the continental shelf


In groups from 3 to 6 individuals


Mainly squid but sometimes feeds on fish and crustaceans


Max length: 3.5 m
Adult weight: 315 to 400 kg


very low and inconspicuous to invisible

IUCN Status: Data deficient
Madeira frequency status: Rare

Other languages common names

GER - Zwergpottwal
FRA - Cachalot Pygmée, Petit cachalot
ESP - Cachalote Pigmeo, Cachalote Cabeza Chica
SWE - Pygmékaskelot
DAN - Pygmy Kaskelothval
ITA - Cogia di De Blainville
NED - Dwergpotvis
NOR - Pygmy Spermkval, Pygmy Spermhval
POL - Kaszalot mały
POR - Cachalote pigmeu

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