Ziphius cavirostris

Cuvier’s beaked whales are among the most widely distributed of all the beaked whales. As with other beaked whale species, they dive to great depths (over 2,000 m) to feed on squid. When diving, the small flippers are tucked into the ‘flipper pockets’ and, like other beaked whales, there is no middle notch on the fluke. At the surface, they may be distinguished from other beaked whales by their relatively short beak and robust body. They prefer areas where the water is deep very close to shore, such as around the islands of the Azores. They are thought to be fairly common around here, but are not seen often because they are difficult to observe at the surface. This is normally the case for beaked whales that spend little time at the surface (as little as 8% of their life) and are very shy and elusive. Cuvier’s beaked whales may be seen alone or in small groups of about 2 – 7 individuals. Little is known about their social habits because, as with other beaked whale species, they are difficult to study in the wild.

Species Details


Male: 6.9 m
Female: 5.5 m
Calf:  2.7 m


Male: 3,000 kg
Calf:  250 – 270 kg

Species Specs

Global population: c.100,000 (population trend unknown)
Status: Least Concern
Diet: Squid, fish, crustaceans
Teeth: 2 in the lower jaw (only males)
Longevity: 25 – 35 years
Breeding age: Unknown
Gestation: Unknown
Nursing: Unknown

In other languages

Portuguese: Baleia de bico de Cuvier, Zifio
Spanish: Zifio de Cuvier
French: Baleine de Cuvier
Italian: Zifio
German: Cuvier-Schnabelwal
Dutch: Dolfijn van Cuvier
Swedish: Småhuvudval, Cuviers näbbval
Norwegian: Gåsenebbhval
Danish: Småhovedet hval
Finnish: Hanhennokkavalas, cuvierinvalas
Polish: Wal Cuviera


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