Sowerby's beaked whale Mesoplodon bidens (Sowerby, 1804)

Suborder: Odontoceti Family: Ziphiidae

Sightings in Madeira

July and August

ID characteristics

Narrow bodied beaked whale typically bluish grey to slate grey but pale on the underside
Small curved dorsal fin with rounded tip, set well back on its body
Small head with fairly long slender bill
Adult males have a single pair of small triangular teeth midway along beak

Surface behaviour

Shy whale. May surface with beak emerging out of the water at a steep angle but only stays at surface for a few minutes.
Both flippers and flukes are invisible on surfacing.


North Atlantic whale ranging from parallel 35º to 65º.
Temperate and subarctic waters in Eastern and Western North Atlantic.


Alone or in small groups up to 10 individuals



Max length:
Adult weight:


Squid and fish

IUCN Status: Data deficient
Madeira frequency status: Rare

Other languages common names

ENG - North Atlantic beaked whale
GER - Sowerby-Zweizahnwal, Nordsee-Schnabelwal, Flosser
FRA - Baleine de Sowerby, Mésoplodon de Sowerby
ESP - Zifio de Sowerby, Zifio del Atlántico norte, Ballena De Pico De Sowerby
SWE - Sowerbys näbbval
DAN - Almindelig næbhval, næbhval
ITA - Mesoplodonte di Sowerby
NED - Gewone spitssnuitdolfijn, Noordzee-spitssnuitdolfijn
NOR - Nordspisskval, Nordspisshval, Sowerbys spisshval
POL - Wal dwuzębny, delfin Soverby’ego
POR - Baleia de bico de Sowerby, Baleia bicuda de Sowerby, Baleia de bico de garrafa

Join Madeira Wildlife Monthly Newsletter. All the updates on your email every month.