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A large beaked whale with a large bulbous forehead that is more prominent in adult males. Adult males only have a noticeable beak and a pair of teeth present at the tip of the lower jaw. A tall, curved dorsal fin is present two-thirds along the back while the flippers appear small and oval shaped. The body’s colouration is chocolate brown overall but is lighter on the forehead, beak and underside
They are an inquisitive species and may approach boats, spyhop or breach. They remain stationary at the surface after deep dives during a recovery period lasting about 10 minutes before resuming foraging dives down to 1,400 m.
This species is occasionally observed offshore along the continental shelf where there are deep canyon systems. Just under 50 strandings have been recorded from all Irish coasts.