Fin Whale

Scientific Name:
Balaenoptera physalus
22-26 m (75-85 ft)
36287-72574 kg (80,000-160,000 lbs)
Krill and plankton, small crustaceans, and sometimes squid

Physical characteristics

Long and slender, brownish-grey, has a pale underside, lower right jaw is white and the lower left jaw is black.

Behavioral characterization

Very social between one another. They dive very often and occasionally breach.


In the summer they are found from central Baja California to Japan and many are found in the Northern Gulf of Alaska and southeastern Bering Sea between May and October. Little is known about their migratory patterns.

Population size

46,000 worldwide



Migration/Dispersal patterns

Feeds in the springtime and summer in the Arctic and Antarctic and migrate to warmer waters in the winter. Some of the warmer waters that they go to are the Gulf of California as well as Mexico.

Social system/Group size

Usually observed in groups between 2 and 7 individuals.

Major threats

Collisions with vessels, entanglement, and reduced prey abundance because of overfishing.

Research efforts

The New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance is currently doing research determining the wintering grounds of the fin whale in order to learn more about them and protect them year round and in all areas of their travels.

Fun fact

The fin whale can swim up to 30 mph in short bursts, the fastest of any large whale.