Further names: Portuguese: Baleia-de-Bryde ;English: Tropical whale
Size of adults: Females 12 to 16 m (grow larger than males). Newborn animals already measure 3-4m.
Prey: In the waters around Madeira they mainly feed on small schooling fish, squid, krill and other planktonic crustaceans. Bryde whales are lunge feeders, accelerating at their prey with their mouth wide open to catch as much prey as they can in one gulp. Using their tongue, they force the water out of their mouths on the sides, filtering out small fish and crustaceans on their baleen in the process.
Behaviour: Very little is known about the behaviour of these whales. They can often be encountered in groups of two to six. Often display curious behaviour and seen feeding alongside other cetaceans.
Range: Occur solely in tropical, sub-tropical latitudes. Unlike other baleen whales, they do not migrate or only do so over short distances.
Madeira: Can occur all year round but seen much more frequently in summer, with most encounters involving solitary animals or mothers with calves. Occasionally seen associating with Sei whales.
Distinctive features: Only rorqual with three parallel ridges extending from the blowhole to the tip of their snout. Apart from this distinctive feature, they can also be identified through their tall, narrow spout. They have a small, falcate dorsal fin and a slender, torpedo-shaped body which can reach speeds of up to 20 kmh. Easily mistaken for Sei whales at sea.
Taxonomy: Suborder: Mysticeti (Baleen whales); Family: Balaenopteridae (Rorquals)
Threats: Insufficient on global population size. They are threatened by potential boat collisions and possible entanglement in free-floating fishing nets. The increasing noise pollution in our oceans also affects the long range communication amongst the animals.