Adult Male © Phil Coles

Quick Facts
Length 5.3m Distribution Tropical and temperate North Atlantic, South Africa and western Australia
Weight 1,000 – 1,400 kg Identification Beak similar to bottlenose dolphin in profile, but blending directly into melon without demarcation. Slightly up turned mouth line. Paler skin around dark eye patch.
Diet Deep sea fish and squid Threats By-catch.
Group size Not known – 1-3 reported so far.  

Adult Male © Phil Coles
True’s beaked whale is one of the least known members of the family, only named in 1913 and only reported in a live sighting in 1995. Photographs taken in the Bay of Biscay in 2001 are the first confirmed sighting of this species in European waters.
True’s is a typical beaked whale in form – large and round bodied with a small head and fins. The colour is quite variable but generally a bluish grey with a lighter underside and often a darker eye patch surrounded by lighter skin. The head profile of this species is superficially similar to the bottlenose dolphin, but without the crease separating the melon from the beak. A stranding in South Africa showed a female to have a white tail stock, from the dorsal fin down, its not yet known whether this is a consistent geographical variation.

The distribution of True’s beaked whale is poorly know but is thought to range from Nova Scotia and Ireland to the north and Florida, the Bahamas and the Canaries in the south within the North Atlantic, while in the southern hemisphere strandings have occurred in South Africa and western Australia.

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