Sowerby's beaked whale (Mesoplodon bidens)
|Researched by||Morvan Barnes||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandRecorded at various locations in the British Isles but most commonly seen off the north coasts of Scotland and north-east England.
HabitatSowerby's beaked whale is an oceanic and coastal species that may be seen at the surface but little is known on what depth they may dive to.
- Up to 5.5 m in length.
- Small dorsal fin two-thirds down the body.
- Distinct, relatively long beak.
- Small head with shallow rising forehead with a small bump.
- Pair of V-shaped throat grooves.
- Mouthline curved down at the rear.
Additional informationSowerby's beaked whale may be confused with True's beaked whale Mesoplodon mirus but can be recognised by a slight bump on the forehead and a slightly longer beak. Sowerby's beaked whales are usually found either alone or in groups of up to 10 individuals. Little is known about their behaviour although tail-slapping has been recorded. Dives may last up to 15 minutes long (Kinze, 2002).
- Berne Convention
- Conservation of Habitat and Species Regulations
- UK & NI Wildlife & Countryside Act
- UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority
- Species of principal importance (England)
- Scottish Biodiversity List
- IUCN Red List
- Priority Marine Features (Scotland)
- Convention on Migratory Species
- Conservation on Natural Habitats 1994
Bruyns, W.F.J.M., 1971. Field guide of whales and dolphins. Amsterdam: Publishing Company Tors.
Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]
Jefferson, T.A., Leatherwood, S. & Webber, M.A., 1994. FAO species identification guide. Marine mammals of the world. Rome: United Nations Environment Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Kinze, C. C., 2002. Photographic Guide to the Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Reid. J.B., Evans. P.G.H., Northridge. S.P. (ed.), 2003. Atlas of Cetacean Distribution in North-west European Waters. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.
Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, 2017. NBIS Records to December 2016. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/jca5lo accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.
OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-12-09
Outer Hebrides Biological Recording, 2018. Vertebrates (except birds, INNS and restricted records), Outer Hebrides. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/dax3tf accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation, 2018. WDC Shorewatch Sightings. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/9vuieb accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
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Last Updated: 02/06/2008