Humpback Whales

These massive marine mammals sing impressive songs, travel across oceans, and strategically corral their prey by blowing bubbles in a ring!


Humpback whales are a species of baleen whale that belong to the Balaenopteridae family. They are scientifically known as Megaptera novaeangliae, with "megaptera" meaning "big-winged". There are several subspecies of humpbacks found around the world, including the North Pacific humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).


Humpback whales are filter feeders that love eating small fish, krill, and plankton. They filter food from the water by using their baleen plates, which are made of keratin and hang from their upper jaw. Humpbacks are known for their unique feeding behavior called bubble netting, where they blow bubbles around their prey to gather them in so they're easier to catch.


Humpbacks are large, with adults reaching lengths of up to 16 meters and weighing up to 36,000 kilograms. They have a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins that can reach up to one-third of their body length, and a knobby protrusion on their head called the "hump". Humpbacks have many behavioural displays including breaching and tail slapping.


Humpback whales are found in oceans around the world, with populations in the North Pacific, North Atlantic, Southern Ocean, and Indian Ocean. They migrate long distances between their summer feeding grounds in colder waters and their winter breeding and calving grounds in warmer waters.


Humpback whales can live up to around 50 years or more. They reach sexual maturity at around 5-10 years of age and give birth to a single calf every 2-3 years. Humpback calves are born weighing around 1 ton and can grow 45 kilograms per day, fueled by their mother's milk, which is rich in fat and protein.


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