└ Whale Behaviour
Video of lonely male humpback singing in Dominican Republic Print E-mail
Non-song acoustic communication in migrating humpback whales Print E-mail
Non-song acoustic communication in migrating humpback whales (pdf) - click to open
Breaching Print E-mail

Humpback whales sometimes launch themselves head first out of the water, sometimes completely. This is called breaching and is one of the behaviours that the humpback whale is famous for. These creatures are very acrobatic, and sometimes spin around while breaching. There may be several different reasons why whales breach. It may have a social meaning as the noise created by the whale's body slapping the water as it comes back down can be heard under water up to a kilometer away. Another suggestion is that breaching may loosen parasites that live on the whales skin; or it may be that the whales are simply having fun!

Logging Print E-mail

The whale rests at the suface. This enables the whale to breath the air that it needs with out making any effort. When the whale is not swimming it resembles a log floating in the water, hence the term logging.

Spyhopping Print E-mail

Spyhopping is the term describing the habit that the humpback whale has of slowing rising straight up out of the water until it's eyes are above the surface. The whale then appears to have a good look around before slowly sinking back beneath the waves.

Pectoral Slapping Print E-mail

Humpback whales have huge mottled white flippers, roughly one third the length of their body. No other type of whale has larger flippers. Humpbacks will sometimes hold one flipper high out of the water before slapping it on to the surface of the water, making a loud noise. Sometimes they do this on their backs, alternating hitting the water with the pectoral fins from either side. It seems as if the whales are communicating to other nearby whales when they do this.

Lobtailing Print E-mail

Humpback whales will often have their head down in the water and stick their tales (flukes) out of the water, wave them around, and then forcefully slap the surface of the water. No one really knows why they do this, but it is thought that the loud noise lobtailing produces may serve as a warning to other members of the pod or as a form of communicating their whereabouts.

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