The majestic humpback, one of the most iconic of all whales. It will breach the surface of the ocean and crash gracefully like an Olympic gold medal swimmer. Their dark greys and white patches define their appearance, like the brush strokes of a famous artist—plus, plenty of texture, thanks to the tubercles on their face. These beautiful sea creatures can grow up to 60 feet in length and weigh over 40 tons.
Although, their name advertises a hump on their back, it isn’t naturally as such. Their backs of flat, but it is the swimming motion of these great beasts that creates a flex as they arch their back for additional propulsion. Humpbacks also utilize what is called a fluke, which it uses to swim in concert with their long pectorals. They can be fairly dexterous when the opportunity arises.
Life of a Humpback
Humpback Whale Feeding on Krill
The humpback, as with other baleen whales, spend a lot of their time feeding to support their body mass in the summer, then proceeding to warmer waters in the winter to breed and give birth. They feed on a wide variety of small sea life that they can hunt. They will eat krill, small schools of fish, herring, salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and etc.
What opens up the larger variety of animals for humpbacks to catch is their ability to feed in teams. They will utilize a skilled hunting technique that involves surrounding their prey with bubbles, like a fishing net. Schools of fish, for example will always stick to a tight group when they are trapped. Once the fish have nowhere else to go, but up, the whales will take turns launching themselves up into the ball of fish and out the surface in spectacular fashion.
Humpback Sound Facts
Another popular humpback whale hunting technique is using loud, bellowing calls to frighten their prey to the surface and then follow it up with measured slaps on the surface using their pectoral fins to knock them unconscious. Once the humpbacks have their mouth full of fish, they will filter out the water using their tongue to push water through their baleen teeth, and then swallow everything whole.
These fishing techniques can produce a day’s worth of eating in just a few hours. They will eat all summer and then survive off the blubber as they migrate, mate, and return back again the next year.
Humpback Whale Migration Route
Humpback whales are known to migrate and move extensively to various areas depending upon the season of the year. These marine warm blooded creatures are known for their huge size and frequenting whale tunes that are regularly delivered amid mating season when male humpback whales sing to go up against different guys for the privilege to mate with a female humpback.
As far as area and natural surroundings humpback whales can be discovered going all through the majority of the planet’s seas. Amid the mid-year months which is their nourishing season these whales can be discovered hindering the colder areas of the world, for example, Alaska and Antarctica where expansive amounts of fish, small prey, and krill can be found.Best Place for Whale Watching: 9 HOT SPOTS
Winter Time Migration
Once the winter time moves around and expansive ice tops start to shape the landscape, these whales can be seen moving to areas, for example, Hawaii and the bay of Maine, where they invest the lion’s share of their energy mating and bearing posterity.
Amid their movement these whales are observed going to the extent of 16,000 miles making them one of the furthest relocating species on the planet. By and large the older and experienced humpbacks will go in front of the more youthful whales amid relocation outings and lead them to the correct goals.
Strikingly, in spite of the fact that these whales can be seen moving, chasing and mating in huge gatherings they are for the most part exceptionally solo and rarely social animals that incline toward voyaging alone or in little gatherings of a few or small family.
Humpback Migration Times for Breeding
In these cases a group may comprise of a mother and her kid or two companions that have shaped a brief free bond. Amid generation cycles female humpbacks will bear a solitary calf once every 2 – 3 years while they are breeding, with the normal incubation time frame enduring 11 – 12 months.
The 11 – 12 month incubation period enables the female humpback to come back to its hotter, more secure mating condition where it can shoulder its young, support it and get ready for the long movement trip back to its encouraging grounds.
Humpback whale numbers have been on the rise in the last couple decades, thanks to strong conservation efforts and the banning of commercial whaling in 1966. Today there are no less than 80,000 humpback whales around the world, however at one point these marine warm blooded animals were considered to be in grave danger of disappearing because of extreme poaching and fishing practices.
Behaviors: Humpback Whales Communication Sounds
Humpback whales speak with each other utilizing boisterous low-pitched groans, whimpers, clicks, and wails. Amid mating periods these sounds might be joined to make melodic tones that are frequently alluded to as humpback songs. These sounds can last more than twenty minutes for every session and may continue for more than twenty-four hours. Little is understood with respect to why they make these sounds and what they mean, be that as it may they seem to assume a part in mating behavior.
Communication for Hunting and Locating Other Whales
These smart, well-evolved creatures have likewise been known to speak with each other amid hunting periods or when they are attempting to discover different whales in the region. Another technique humpback whales use to impart is through non-verbal communication and visual signals, for example, thrusting, tail slapping and rupturing the water surface.
These types of correspondence are accepted to be utilized to show strength, youth, and well being amid mating season, keeping in mind the end goal to demonstrate to different whales that they are sound, fit and are the best choice to mate with.
A few competing whales will even charge each other to demonstrate their strength and claim their region, be that as it may it is uncommon that any genuine damage will come to either whale, though.
Humpback Males Like to Sing
When it comes to whale sounds the humpback whale is known to produce loud melodic tones, however, it is only the male whales that are known to produce songs to attract their mates.
The whale songs contain a mix of both low and loud pitched tones, with whining, grunting and moaning as if sad it seems. These can be heard many miles away and are often described as haunting and melodic in nature, as the sounds travel so far and wide, they surround divers who happen to come across them in the open waters.
Humpback Whale Facts and Talents
As you can see, humpback whales are pretty unique sea creatures, it’s no wonder they appear in so many tales and stories around the world. Marine experts are constantly finding new facts and features about humpback whales, here are some facts that you can check out:
- We’re really lucky to have humpback whales with us, as at the peak of the whaling era in the early 20th century, humpbacks were nearly eliminated, losing 90% of their population.
- The only other predator to whales, besides man, are orcas—also known as killer whales. They will hunt humpbacks in groups if they are desperate and have the territorial advantage.
- Humpbacks can eat up to 5,500 pounds per DAY. That’s a lot of fish. Newborn humpbacks can chug up to a 100 pounds worth of their mom’s milk per day. Well, it does build strong bones, mom!
- The real name of humpback whales is Megaptera novaeangliae. Definitely not as catchy as humpback.
- Their tails and pectoral fins are among the largest in the family of whales, with their tail making up a third of their length and pectoral fins an impressive two-thirds.
- Humpback whales are one of the few whales that will breach for fun, similar to a dolphin, leaping clear from the water and even adding in acrobatics before crashing in a huge splash.
- These whales breathe through a double blowhole. They take a breath about twice each minute when normally swimming, and about twice that when they have been diving/feeding.
- Their average lifespan is purported to be about 50 years, which is within the normal range for larger whales, however, some humpback whales can live longer if they avoid attacks from orca and do not get sick.