Humpback Whales are known to be one of the most playful whales on earth. the Humpback inhabits every ocean on the planet, and is most famous for it’s capability of song. During mating season, the males will sing organized and complex songs with distinct melodies and themes that can be heard over twenty miles away. These song patterns change yearly, and every few years a new song will emerge.
Of all cetaceans, the Humpback Whale seems to be the most athletic, impressing observers with much breaching, spy hopping and other such playful behaviour. In the arctic they have been seen turning over small icebergs for fun.
Scientists believe there are about 30,000-40,000 Humpback Whales in the world at present, or about 30-35% of the original population. Humpbacks are slow swimmers, making them particularly vulnerable to extensive whaling campaigns in the early 20th century. It is believed that over 100,000 Humpback Whales were killed before they were listed as endangered in 1966.
While Humpback Whales are generally not as social as other whales, they do cooperatively feed, migrate, and breed. Residing within a loose-knit social structure, Humpback Whales live individually alone, or within transient small groups that come together periodically. During the summer months they tend to stay in such groups for longer periods of time to forage and feed co-operatively.
Humpback Whales living in the Pacific Ocean will travel from their summer feeding grounds in Alaska to the Hawaiian Islands, some 4200 kilometers away. Swimming up to 150 km per day during these migrations, they will travel either individually or with one to three other Humpbacks.The Humpback Whale eats approximately one and a half tonnes per day of small fish such as herring, as well as krill. During feeding periods, Humpback Whales cooperate with one another in a system known as bubble netting feeding in which over 20 whales will surround a school of fish or krill, and create a ‘net’ of bubbles which forces small fish to gather in the center. With their mouths open wide, a few Humpbacks will lunge up the middle of this net capturing the gathered fish.
Humpback Whale Facts
- Scientific Name: Megaptera Novaeangliae
- Common Name: Humpback Whale
- Length: Female: 13.7 – 15.2 metres (45 – 50 feet)
12.2 – 14.6 metres (40 – 48 feet)
- Gestation Period: 12 Months
- Longevity: 45-50 Years