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 -
IUCN Red List Status: Lower
Risk/ Conservation Dependant
Bairdís Beaked Whale Distribution Map
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.
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.
J. Mann, P. L. Tyack and H. Whitehead. 1998. Social evolution
in toothed whales. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13:
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.
and S. Ruff. 1999. Smithsonian book of North American mammals.
UBC Press, Vancouver.