Long-finned Pilot Whale
Globicephala melas
Joana Romero

The Long-finned Pilot Whale has a dark grey pattern. Males can reach up to 6 m long and females only 5 m. The particular shape of the dorsal fin is distinctive to this species; it is short and rounded, wide at the base and tilted back. The pectoral fins are narrow and long. The head is large and rounded and has no beak like the other delphinidae.

Despite its name, the Pilot Whale is actually a dolphin. With a predominant pelagic behaviour, it does not occur in waters less than 200 m depth. However, it can be seen in areas closest to the coast where the food - mostly squid, but also some fish - is more abundant. Despite being regular along the Portuguese coast, there is no information on population size and trend, or whether it is a resident or visitor species in our waters. It can be seen in groups of dozens of individuals, sometimes mixed with other species such as the Bottlenose Dolphin or large whales. It’s not very active and the aerial acrobatics are rare. It’s possible to observe this species in the waters of Peniche, Nazaré and Berlengas, although it is more frequent in the north of Portugal.