Cuvier's Beaked Whale
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia

Cuvier's beaked whale, or the goose-beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), is the most widely distributed of all the beaked whales.


The body of Cuvier's beaked whale is robust and cigar-shaped, similar to those of other beaked whales, and can be difficult to distinguish from many of the mesoplodont whales at sea. It grows to about 5–7 m (16–23 ft) in length and weighs 2,500 kg (5,500 lb). Its dorsal fin is curved, small, and located two-thirds of the body length behind the head. Its flippers are equally small and narrow and can be tucked into pockets in the body wall, presumably to prevent drag while swimming. Like other beaked whales, its flukes are large and lack the medial notch found in all other cetaceans. The head is short with a small, poorly defined rostrum and a gently sloping melon. A pair of throat grooves allows the whale to expand this region when sucking in its prey.

Cuvier's beaked whale has a short beak in comparison with other species in its family, with a slightly bulbous melon, which is white or creamy in color, and a white strip runs back to the dorsal fin about two-thirds of the way along the back. The rest of the body color varies by individual: some are dark grey; others are a reddish-brown. Individuals commonly have white scars and patches caused by cookiecutter sharks. The dorsal fin varies in shape from triangular to highly falcate, whilst the fluke is about one-quarter the body length.


Though it is pelagic, prefers water deeper than 1,000 m (3,300 ft), and avoids ships, it is still one of the most frequently spotted beaked whales.

In 2014, scientists reported that they had used satellite-linked tags to track Cuvier's beaked whales off the coast of California, and found the animals dove up to 2,992 m (nearly two miles, 9,816 ft) below the ocean surface and spent up to two hours and 17 minutes underwater before resurfacing, which represent both the deepest and the longest dives ever documented for any mammal


Cuvier's beaked whales feed on several species of squid; they also prey on deep-sea fish.


They live for 40 years.



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