Cuvier’s Beaked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris)
Cuvier's Beaked Whale have small flippers
and dorsal fin, and a stocky but compressed body. The beak
is not set apart from the melon, and the mouthline is curved
at the back, showing a hint of a 'grin'. Young are generally
brown to grey, with a paler head and belly. With age, the
head becomes mostly white, which is especially noticeable
in males. The body colour of adults is varied: at the surface
it can have a reddish cast, but could also be either tan,
light brown, acorn brown, or 'gun-metal' blue. Scars give
each individual a different appearance. There are two teeth
at the front of the lower jaw, and these erupt through the
gum in males to become exposed when the mouth is closed.
The maximum length documented so far has been 7m for males
and 7.5m for females, while a female of 6.5m weighed in
at just below 3 tonnes. The blow is low and iinconspicuous.
Habitat: This is a deepwater species that is rarely seen
in coastal waters.
Food & Feeding: The diet of this species is not properly
known, but stomach contents suggest that mainly squid and
deepsea fish are taken.
Behaviour: These whales are usually found in units of between
two to seven individuals, or - as with adult males - alone.
When at the surface, the chin seems to be thrust forward
above the water, and occasional breaches have been witnessed.
Strandings are normally of single animals only. Longevity:
Approximately 60 years.