Common Dolphin

  • Irish name: An Deilf Choiteann
  • Latin name: Delphinus delphis
  • Size: 1.5 – 2.7 m
  • Diet: Horse Mackerel, sauries, herring, lantern fish and squid

A small, sleek dolphin with an obvious narrow beak and a falcate dorsal fin. Its sides are coloured with a diagnostic “hourglass” pattern that is yellow near the head and grey towards the tail. It is dark grey above from the head to the dorsal fin and its underside is pale.


Breaching regularly takes place along with side slaps. They will regularly bow ride boats and large whales. They move quickly while travelling and corral fish into “bait balls” at the surface while feeding.


They are the most regularly sighted and stranded Irish dolphin species. Since 2011 a sixfold increase in the number of strandings has occurred from typically 20 – 40 strandings per year to the latest record set in 2018 at 118. The cause of this increased mortality is currently unknown.

Common Dolphin Sightings 2009 – 2019

Downloadable Detailed Species Information


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