Northern Bottlenose Whale (Davis Strait-Baffin Bay-Labrador Sea)

Hyperoodon ampullatus

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Description

Northern Bottlenose Whales are beaked whales that resemble dolphins. They are, however, significantly larger than most dolphin species. They grow 7–9 m in length, with the males usually one metre longer than the females. Their colour ranges from chocolate brown to light gray. Females and immature males have smaller, bulbous foreheads while mature males have larger, squared-off foreheads.

Northern Bottlenose Whales have a life expectancy of at least 37 years. Males mature at 7–9 years old and females at 8–13 years old. Females typically give birth to one calf every 2 years. They eat various deepwater fish and squid, with a preference for squid of the Gonatus genus.

Habitat

There are two populations of Northern Bottlenose Whales found within Canadian Waters: the Scotian Shelf population and the Davis Strait-Baffin Bay-Labrador Sea population. These two populations are genetically distinct from each other. The Scotian Shelf animals are smaller in size, and may breed later in the year. The Davis Strait-Baffin Bay-Labrador Sea population is found from Labrador, through the Davis Strait and in the southern portion of Baffin Bay. They prefer depths greater than 500 metres, along the continental slope, and are rarely seen nearshore. They are known to aggregate near deep-water fishing vessels off Labrador and western Davis Strait, where some have learned to feed off discarded fish.

Threats

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) report indicates that the principal threats to the Northern Bottlenose Whale in the Davis Strait-Baffin Bay-Labrador Sea population are entanglement in fishing gear (the primary known threat) and ocean noise. The extent of harm from these threats is unknown.

Further Information

For more information, visit the Species at Risk Registry.

  • Calves are smaller and have darker coloured foreheads (photo credit: Whitehead Lab)

    Calves are smaller and have darker coloured foreheads (photo credit: Whitehead Lab)

  • Females and young males have rounded foreheads (photo credit: H. Moors-Murphy)

    Females and young males have rounded foreheads (photo credit: H. Moors-Murphy)

  • The forehead of males gets flatter and whiter with age (photo credit: H. Moors-Murphy)

    The forehead of males gets flatter and whiter with age (photo credit: H. Moors-Murphy)

Northern Bottlenose Whale (Davis Strait-Baffin Bay-Labrador Sea)

Illustration of a Northern Bottlenose Whale viewed from the side.  Their colour ranges from chocolate brown to light gray and they have a pronounced forehead and beak.

Illustration of a Northern Bottlenose Whale viewed from the side. Their colour ranges from chocolate brown to light gray and they have a pronounced forehead and beak.

Scientific name: Hyperoodon ampullatus
SARA Status: Under consideration
COSEWIC Status: Special Concern
Regions: Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador

Region: Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador

Canadian boundary of the Davis Strait-Baffin Bay-Labrador Sea population of Northern Bottlenose Whale.  The extent of the map is 50 degrees North to 70 degrees North latitude and from 70 degree West to 52 degrees West longitude.   The Northern Bottlenose Whale is found in deep waters (greater than 500 m) of the North Atlantic off of the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and north into Baffin Bay.  Distribution is not mapped beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone of Canada.  The map is based on the COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Northern Bottlenose Whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus) in Canada (2011).

Canadian boundary of the Davis Strait-Baffin Bay-Labrador Sea population of Northern Bottlenose Whale. The extent of the map is 50 degrees North to 70 degrees North latitude and from 70 degree West to 52 degrees West longitude. The Northern Bottlenose Whale is found in deep waters (greater than 500 m) of the North Atlantic off of the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and north into Baffin Bay. Distribution is not mapped beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone of Canada. The map is based on the COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Northern Bottlenose Whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus) in Canada (2011).

Did You Know?

Northern Bottlenose Whales are known for their tendency to approach ships and are one of the best divers of all the whales. They have been known to reach depths of 800 m and can stay submerged for up to 70 minutes.

Related information

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