ORCA / KILLER WHALE

Orcinus Orca

Orcas are the largest members of the
dolphin family. Also referred to as killer whales because they kill and feed on whales, as well as other types of prey. Their preferred diet depends on the type of social group (resident or transient) and location. Orcas are highly intelligent animals that have adapted to specialized and cooperative hunting techniques to capture various species including sharks, seals, dolphins, and whales much larger then themselves. Orcas have been recorded swimming at speeds up to 54 km/hr, making them among the fastest of all cetaceans. The orca is the most widely distributed of the cetaceans, being found around the globe from pole to pole. Different varieties or “ecotypes” exist in different regions. Orcas form social matrilineal groups which all has unique dialects.
Orcas can attack young sperm whales, but this is not often observed in the Azores as they pass by the islands only occasionally.

Video Footage

Species Details

Length

Male: 9.8 m
Female: 8.5 m
Calf:  2.1 – 2.6 m

Weight

Male: 10,000 kg
Calf:  200 kg

Species Specs

Global population: c.50,000
Status: Data Deficient
Diet: Fish (including sharks), cephalopods, marine mammals, turtles, seabirds
Teeth: 40 – 52
Longevity:
Male: 50 years
Female: 90 years

Breeding age: 10 – 18 years
Gestation: 15 – 18 months
Nursing: 12 months

In other languages

Portuguese: Orca, baleia-assassino
Spanish: Orca
French: Orque Épaulard
Italian: Orca
German: Orca, Schwertzwal
Dutch: Orka, zwaardwalvis
Swedish: Orca, späckhuggare
Norwegian: Spekkhogger
Danish: Spækhugger
Finnish: Miekkavalas
Polish: Orka
Russian: Kasatka

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