Finback Whale

(Balaenoptera physalus)


Family: Balaenopteridae

Species: Balaenoptera physalus

Length: 20 to 24 meters.

Weight: 40 to 85 metric tons.

Life expectancy: 75 to 100 years.

Diet: Feeds on euphausids and also on capelin and sand lance, and juvenile herring.

Description: The fin whale is the second largest baleen whale, and member of the rorqual family, with sleek, highly streamlined bodies. They are most easily identified by the sweeping grey to white chevron on the right side of their body just behind the head, and the white coloration on their right lower jaw. Fin whales have asymmetrically colored jaws and baleen with the right side being white and the left side being dark grey.  

whales swimming in groups

A pod of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) travelling into the St Lawrence waters


Behaviour: Solitary, or in groups of 6-12 individuals. Fin whales rarely raise their flukes above the surface of the water on a terminal dive, and rarely display aerial behaviors such as breaching, unlike the humpback whales. Fin whales typically complete a series of shallow dives, surfacing several times within one to two minutes, before taking a terminal dive which can commonly last between 8 to 12 minutes.