Southern Resident Killer Whales

Despite their name, these North American birds of prey are not bald. They got their name from their white heads that contrast with their dark brown body plumage! Bald eagles build the biggest nests in North America, reaching 2.5 metres in diameter.


Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) are a distinct population of orcas (aka killer whales) found along the west coast of North America. They are classified as Orcinus orca and are the largest members of the dolphin family. SRKWs are critically endangered.


Southern Resident Killer Whales primarily feed on Chinook salmon, a threatened species, but also consume other species of salmon and occasionally other fish. They do not feed on marine mammals, unlike the Bigg's killer whales. They use echolocation to locate their prey.


SRKWs have a complex social structure, with matrilineal family groups (pods) and distinct dialects of vocalizations. They are highly intelligent animals and are capable of problem-solving, communication, and cooperation. They have a lifespan similar to humans, with females living up to 80-90 years and males up to 50-60 years.


This ecotype is found in the coastal waters of Washington state and British Columbia south to can California. They have a movement pattern, where they hang around British Columbia in the summer and travel as far as California in the winter.


Female Southern Resident Killer Whales have a long gestation period of 15-18 months, and typically give birth to a single calf every 3-5 years. Families stay together for their entire lives!