Harbour Porpoise

  • Irish name: An Mhuc mhara
  • Latin name: Phocoena phocoena
  • Size: 1.45 – 1.5m
  • Diet: Herring, sprat, poor cod and whiting

A very compact species with a rounded head, diagnostic small, triangular dorsal fin situated mid-way along the back and short paddle-like flippers. The upper side is dark grey which blends into a lighter shade along both sides while the underside is white. A dark grey line links the mouth line to the flippers.


Generally appears shy and avoids other species and boats. The surfacing sequence is usually extremely brief even when swimming slowly. Breaching occasionally takes place but this species appears most active when feeding as it circles quickly in pursuit of prey.


Harbour porpoises can be seen easily in any inshore waters, especially in calm sea conditions. They are particularly abundant between Howth Head and Dalkey off Co. Dublin where boat based surveys conducted by IWDG produced the highest counts anywhere in Ireland.

Harbour Porpoise Sightings 2009 – 2019

Downloadable Detailed Species Information


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