Minke Whale

Latin:            Balaenoptera acutorostrta
English:       Minke whale
Norwegian: Vågehval

The minke whale is the smallest and most abundant of the rorqual whales, it is found in all oceans, almost to the edge of the ice.
A slim whale with a sharply pointed head, the minke surfaces, blows, and rolls trough the water, its dorsal fin appearing briefly before it dives. The minke's smaller size (slightly larger than an orca), compared to the other baleen whales, provides the first indication of the species. 

Doc - 30 dec. 2012 11-53

A good way to identify a minke is to look for the white band on the flippers. This is clearly visible at medium to close range as a white patch just below the surface beside the animal. In some parts of the world, however, the flippers are all black.

photo: Jenny van Twillert

When seen up close, the back of the minke whale is swathed in variable areas of dark and light pigmentation. These marks have been used to photo-identify and keep track of individuals.

On their feeding grounds minkes are often seen in pairs, although the numbers can reach up to 100 in a feeding area where food is plentiful.

Listen to the minke whale

© North Atlantic Society 2012