Hawaiian Island Cetaceans

Fin Whale

Scientific Name - Balaenoptera physalus

Average Length - Male: 20m, Female: 21m

Photo Credit: © Robin W. Baird/Cascadia Research Collective


The Fin Whale is rarely seen in Hawaii but has been sighted off the Northwestern and Main Hawaiian Islands. Fin whales are the second largest species of whale and can be found in all major oceans.  They have a distinct, asymmetrical coloration on the head which is dark on the left side of the lower jaw and white on the right side.  Fin whales are fast swimmers often found in social groups of less than 10 animals.  They have also been seen in larger, mixed feeding groups that include Humpback and Minke whales.  Fin and Blue whales occasionally mate and hybrid offspring have been documented.  The biggest threats to these whales are vessel strikes, entanglement and noise pollution which disrupts their communication.  Fin whales, like the blue whale, communicate over long distance and can be identified from their songs.  Anthropogenic noise from shipping and drilling activities disrupts this communication.

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