Sowerby's Beaked Whale
Mesoplodon bidens

Other Names:North Sea Beaked Whale

Habitat: Offshore

Status: Unknown

Population: Unknown

Threats: Unknown

Group Size: 1-2

Fin Position: Far behind center

Newborns: 8-9 ft (2.4-2.7 m), c.375 lb. (170 kg)

Adults: 13 -16 ft (4-5 m), 1-1.3 tons

Diet: Squid or octopus and fish

Teeth: 0 on top, 2 on bottom


Dorsal fin:

- small, curved dorsal fin (variable)
- rounded tip
- fin may be more falcate


- dark upper sides and undersides
- no notch in flukes
- concave trailing edges


- curved trailing edges
- relatively long flippers for a Mesoplodon


- teeth visible when mouth closed
- fairly long beak
- prominent bulge located in front of blowhole (variable)
- may be sandy coloration on head and beak
- beak length variable
- beak may be more slender and dolphin-like
- may have more distinct bulge
- indentation at blowhole

Jawbone (male):

- teeth about 12 in (30 cm) from tip of lower jaw

Other characteristics:

- slate gray or bluish gray upper side
- body shows limited scarring
- long, thin body
- light bluish gray or white underside, especially in younger animals
- gray or white spots may cover body of adults and sometimes younger animals


- little is known
- some reports suggest head is brought out of water at a steep angle for most surfacing
- small, bushy blow sometimes seen
- spends about 1 minute at the surface, with 4 to 6 quick breaths, followed by a long dive of 10 to 15 minutes; resurfaces up to 2,625 ft (800 m) away
- probably unobtrusive and does not approach boats
- sound of stranded animal likened to cow's mooing


- temperate and subartic waters in the eastern and western North Atlantic
- known mainly from about 100 strandings
- most records from eastern North Atlantic, especially around Britain
- area west of Norway is probably center of distribution
- may occur in the Mediterranean, as there is a report from Italy
- unlikely to live in the Baltic, as water is too shallow
- in western North Atlantic, known mainly from Newfoundland, Canada, and Massachusetts, but also from Northern Labrador, Canada, and a single record from Florida
- little known about migrations; most northerly animals may migrate with advancing and retreating ice, and some populations may move toward coasts during summer
- year-round strandings, especially July to September
- probably lives some distance offshore

TMMSN Galveston

TMMSN Corpus Christi

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This page was created by:Candice Orca Mottet