Since whales are only visible when at the surface breathing, which is less than 20% of
the time, it is difficult to observe their behavior.
1. Baleen whales are generally found singly or in loose associations rather than in large groups or families. Exceptions include migrating baleen whales, which may be found in small groups, and some species that mate in groups of several individuals.
2. The strongest apparent bond between two individuals is between a calf and its mother.
3. Large numbers of individuals may congregate in feeding or calving areas.
1. Research into interpretation of baleen whale behaviors is ongoing. Some behaviors may be related to food-gathering, aggression, excitement, warning, visual inspection, or mating.
2. When a whale throws its body out of the water and lands on the surface, it is called a breach. Sometimes breaches are repeated by the same individual several times in sequence.
Humpback whales are among the most acrobatic species of baleen whales. Breaching is a common behavior.
3. Lifting the head vertically out of the water is called a spyhop.
4. Some baleen whales slap their pectoral flippers, tail flukes, or head on the surface of the water, which creates loud sounds underwater.
5. Calves and adults have been seen pushing around objects such as logs, kelp, and debris.
6. Various baleen whale species show characteristic behaviors.
a. Humpback whales may be the most acrobatic species of baleen whales. They engage in breaching, flipper-slapping, tail-slapping, spyhopping, charging other whales, and stroking another whale's flippers or flukes.
b. Gray, fin, Minke, bowhead, and right whales commonly breach and spyhop.
c. Bowhead and right whales exhibit head- and body-slapping.
Diet and Eating Habits
SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Animal Information Database
www.seaworld.org / www.buschgardens.org
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