Globicephala spp.

Pilot whales are divided into two different species: short-finned (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and long-finned (Globicephala melas). Short-finned pilot whales are found in warmer temperate to tropical waters and it is this species that is most frequently sighted in the Azores. However, long-finned pilot whales that prefer cooler waters have also been sighted here, but it is almost impossible to distinguish between the two at sea. Pilot whales are very social animals that are often seen in groups of 15 – 50 or even hundreds of individuals. They form strong permanent bonds and which may be why they often strand in large numbers. In the Azores, pilot whales are frequently sighted from April to October. They are usually seen in deeper water where they can dive over 500 m deep to feed on cephalopods (squid and octopus). They are frequently seen near sperm whales and Risso’s dolphins.

Video Footage

Species Details


Male: 7.2 m
Female: 5.5 m
Calf: 1.4 – 1.9 m


Male: 3,600 kg
Calf: 100 kg

Species Specs

Global population: c.650,000 (population trend unknown)
Status: Data Deficient
Diet: Cephalopods, fish
Teeth: 30 – 40
Longevity: Male: 45 years, Female: 60 years
Breeding age: Male: 12 year, Female: 6 – 7 years
Gestation: 12 – 15 months
Nursing: 22 months

In other languages

Portuguese: Baleia-piloto-tropical/Baleia-piloto
Spanish: Calderón tropical, ballena piloto de aleta corta/Calderón común, ballena piloto de aleta larga
French: Baleine pilote, globicéphale tropical/globicéphale commun, globicéphale noir
Italian: Globicefalo di Gray/Globicefalo
German: Kurzflossen Pilotwal, Grindwal/Gewöhnlicher Grindwal, Langflossen-Grindwal
Dutch: Indische griend/gewone griend, zwarte griend
Swedish: Kortfenad grindval/Långfenad grindval
Norwegian: Kortfinnegrindhval/Langfinnegrindhval, svinehval
Danish: Grindehval/Langfinnede Grindehval
Finnish: Grindvalaat, Pitkäeväpallopää/Eväpallopää
Polish: Albrzymi delfin, grindwal
Russian: Grindy


As Featured In

awards partners futurismo azores
Close Menu
Trip Advisor