White-beaked Dolphin

The White-beaked Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris) is a marine mammal belonging to the family Delphinidae (dolphins) in the suborder of the Odontoceti, or toothed whales. The White-beaked Dolphin is one of the larger dolphins (1.1-1.2m at birth growing to around 2.5-2.7 metres at adulthood). The dolphin is characterized by its short thick creamy-white beak and very falcate (curved) dorsal fin. The White-beaked Dolphin is endemic to the North Atlantic Ocean and is found in a band stretching across the ocean from Cape Cod, the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and southern Greenland in the west, around Iceland in the centre and across in the west from northern France to Svalbard. The White-beaked Dolphin is not as well adapted to Arctic conditions as the beluga or narwhal The dolphin may easily be mis-identified as the Atlantic White-sided Dolphin although the White-beaked is commonly found further north. The White-beaked Dolphin is also typically larger and does not have yellow streaks on its side. The population, breeding pattern and life expectancy of the dolphin are all unknown although most sources estimate several hundred million individuals, more densely populated in the eastern North Atlantic than the west.

White-beaked Dolphins are acrobatic and social animals. They will frequently ride on the bow-wave of high-speed boats and jump clear of the sea's surface. The White-beaked Dolphin is a social feeder and has frequently been observed feeding with Orca, Fin and Humpback Whales as well as other dolphin species.



  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Whales Dolphins and Porpoises, Mark Carwardine, Dorling Kindersley Handbooks, ISBN 0-7513-2781-6
  • National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World, Reeves, Stewart, Clapham and Powell, ISBN 0-375-41141-0

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