"Objective Science for Conservation"






Marine Mammals of the Pacific

Bairdís Beaked Whale Berardius bairdii

Bairdís Beaked Whale Facts

Length: 11.9 - 12.8 meters

Weight: 11,000 kg

Food: mackerel, octopus, sardines, and other deep sea fish

Breeds every 3 years

Gestation: 12-17 months

Newborn: 4.5 meters long

Adult life expectancy: about 70 years

Social Status: Groups of 6 - 30 animals

IUCN Red List Status: Lower Risk/ Conservation Dependant


Bairdís Beaked Whale Distribution Map

Bairdís Beaked Whale Distribution Map




















Bairdís beaked whale is large beaked whale reaching almost 12 meters in length (Wilson and Ruff 1999). It has four teeth on the lower jaw typical of the genus and both sexes are heavily scarred from interactions. Immatures are slaty greay and mature animals are dark gray or black coloured. Bairdís beaked whales are a member of the ziphiids, or Ďbeakedí whale family characterized by having battle teeth in males. Connor et al. (1998) believe the teeth are for male to male combat. The unusual feature of Bairdís beaked whale is that both sexes have battle teeth. Also puzzling are some of their life history features. Males become sexually mature at a much younger age than females and probably live much longer - as much as 30 years more- and the sex ratio is male-biased among adults. They suggest that the lack of sexual dimorphism in Bairdís beaked whales, high female mortality, and surplus of mature males points to males as significant providers of care.

Bairdís beaked whale is widely distributed in the Pacific from Japan across the north Pacific including the southern Bering Sea south to the Gulf of California and Hawaii (Wilson and Ruff 1999). There is some evidence of migratory and non-migratory populations in Japanese waters (Subramanian et al. 1988). Little is known about this species ecology. It travels in schools of up to 50 individuals and eats squid and fish caught during dives to as much as 2000 meters deep lasting up to an hour. Gestation is 17 months and in Japanese waters calving occurs in March and April (Wilson and Ruff 1999). Calves are 4.5 meters long at birth and adult males can live up to 71 years.



Connor, R.C., J. Mann, P. L. Tyack and H. Whitehead. 1998. Social evolution in toothed whales. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13: 228-232.


Subramanian, A, S., Tanabe, and R. Tatsukawa. 1988. Estimating some biological parameters of Baird's beaked whales using PCBs and DDE as tracers. Marine Pollution Bulletin 19: 284-287.


Wilson, D. and S. Ruff. 1999. Smithsonian book of North American mammals. UBC Press, Vancouver.




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