Sowerby’s Beaked Whale

  • Irish name: Míol mór socach Sowerby
  • Latin name: Mesoplodon bidens
  • Size: 5.1 – 5.5 m
  • Diet: Squid and deep sea fish

A slim whale with an elongated, narrow beak and rounded forehead. The dorsal fin is triangular curving to a point while the flippers are small and inconspicuous. Males characteristically have two triangular teeth present mid-way along the lower jaw. The back and sides are a dark grey to chocolate brown colour with white undersides. Males are usually extensively scarred.


Their beak emerges from the water at a very steep angle while surfacing. They may breach occasionally and tail slap. This species can reach depths of 1,500 m over 30 minute foraging dives.


This species was first recorded stranded in Brandon Bay, Co. Kerry in 1864. Most of what we know about this species has come from stranding records, but they were acoustically recorded across all seasons offshore between 2015 – 2016 by the ObSERVE acoustic project.

Downloadable Detailed Species Information


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