A Comprehensive Guide On Humpback Whales: Grab The Knowledge!

Kingdom:- Animalia (animals)
Phylum:- Chordata (vertebrates)
Class:- Mammalia (mammals)

Order:- Cetacea (whales and dolphins)

Suborder:- Mysticeti (baleen whales)

Family: -Balaenopteridae

Genus:- Megaptera

Species:- novaeangliae


Humpbacks are cosmopolitan animals, mainly in grey and black and are found in all the oceans on the planet. In the past forty years, humpback species have made the excellent comeback in the North Pacific regions. Until 1966 these whales were immensely targeted for commercial whaling and by the harvest end there were just fourteen hundred humpbacks were left. Humpbacks are active animals and you will mostly see them playing, flipping, breaching in the water. The North Pacific whales migrate at a very long distance. This includes winter grounds for breeding in southern regions like southern Asia, Mexico and Hawaii to northern areas from California to Russia and Alaska where they are going to spend the entire summer. These creatures have been observed to show huge fidelity to their feeding regions. British Colombia is divided into two different regions. The southeast Alaska and the northern Colombian region is having estimated population of humpbacks around 3-5 thousand whales while in southern Washington there are 200-300 humpbacks left.
There is a huge correlation between the feeding and breeding ground when it comes to the flourishes of this species.

Identification of humpback whales

  • Size:- rotund body shape and the maximum length is 16 meters
  • Color: - black-grey, varying amount of white color on undersides, pectoral fins, and throat.
  • Blow: - two to three meters and bushy can dive for 30 minutes to a depth of 700 feet. Normally they swim  at the speed of 3-9 mph and can take speed up to 16.5 mph
  • Dorsal fin:- 2/3 back along the body, varies in shape, rests on the hump
  • Tail fluke:- edge is curved and fluke is raised
  • Group size:-often found solitary, but can also found in social or feeding groups of 10-15

(Note: - from a distance humpback whale can be easily confused with any other large species of whales, but with a close glimpse at head and flippers will clear the idea.)

Where do they live?

Humpback whales are distributed in all the oceans on the planet and migrate to different coastal regions for breeding and feeding. They live-in tropical wintering grounds, continental coasts, sub-polar habitats and open ocean temperatures as well. According to the United States, endangered species act 1973 humpback whales are endangered species. It is easy to identify a humpback whale for short distance. It can be as long as a school bus. They have excellent listening even in low frequencies. This ability proves itself in the dark ocean where there is less visibility.

Humpback vocalization

Humpback whales are communicative and the noisiest of all as well.  They are singers and also have unique songs for the mating season to attract females. They have complex, varied, long, beautiful and eerie that includes recognizable sequences of grunts, squeaks and other voices. This whale song has largest frequent that is 20-9,000 Hertz.  Only males sing this song, not females.  This complex song is sung in warm waters to attract females just for the mating purpose. In the cold waters, they groan, scrape and make noises to locate huge masses of krill.

Cold coastal water visits of humpback

Humpback whales visit the coastal waters in summers most frequently and the reason is that it is rick in prey like pilchard, capelin, herring, krill, and lace. There is one another name of humpback and that is rorqual whale. It means that having pleats from lower jaw till abdomen that allows there throat to hugely expand and capture food filled a huge amount of water while they are feeding. They also use baleen which acts as a sieve to trap food and filters the food out of salt water. There are different feeding techniques which these whales use. These techniques are used to fill mouth such as bubble nets.

Hunting and feeding


Humpback whales just feed in the summertime and till then they can live o their fat reservoirs during the winter times. During the time of feeding, the humpback can eat up to 3-5500 pounds of seafood per day.  They also refuel their reservoirs.  For hunting, they use different techniques like bubble net
They hunt individually and even in groups.  A whale pod will blow bubbles while they start swimming in circles so that a bubble ring can be created on the surface. This ring can be thirty meters in diameters or even hundred feet. This ring confuses the fishes and they also get scared. The whales start swimming in small circles and tighten the ring. This is the time when they also produce sounds to confuse the fishes.  Whales then rapidly swim in the upward direction through the bubble net and swallow thousands of fishes and other things in just one gulp.

Breeding in humpback whales

Humpback whales breed seasonally start in the tropical and subtropical regions in the winter times.  This is the time when you will hear males singing whale song which is quite loud and can be heard from many miles away. It is also known as the most complex song in the animal kingdom.  The amazing thing is that song is specific to the areas and an also has evolved every year.  This song is sung by male humpback whales to attract females, though this song is also used for competition and social ordering.  


The baby remains inside the mother for eleven months and calves are born in the month of December to April in the regions of North Pacific. Before a calf becomes independent he is going to stay with his mother for about a year. Females nurse their calves in shallow and warm water. This species is having complex courtship behavior which means males have to compete with each other to get a female. Females become pregnant after 2-3 years.  Humpback whales do not have any long social bonding.  Both the genders in the north Atlantic reaches maturity around five years. The lifespan can be 48 years more, though there is not any evidence regarding the humpback lifespan. 

Predators of humpback & how long they live?

Mammal eaters are the primary threat to the humpback whales inside water that preys on young animals such as the killer whale. Many humpback whales can be seen with scars of unsuccessful attacks. There is an also evidence that shows humpback whales travel to breeding regions in areas like Hawaii to prevent the attacks of killer whales. Hawaiian regions are having fewer amounts of killer whales.  California coast is the most dangerous for humpback whales because of the hotspot of killer whales.  Humpback whales do not have teeth which mean it is not easy to tell the exact age. Life expectancy is 45-100 years. They can die from natural cause or attack of predators. Human’s are also commercially hunting humpback whales for centuries. These creatures are also harmed due to the entanglement of fishing gadgets, ship strikes, and pollution.

Humpback whales are amazing sea creatures and this is the reason why people from all parts of the world travel to different regions where whale watching can be experienced.  Make sure that you know a little about these wonderful sea creatures so that you can add more to your fun while experiencing their sight.

Interesting humpback whale facts

Sea creatures are full of mystery and this is why their facts have always enticed the humans. Whales are colossal, lovely and it resting creatures and here are some of the most interesting facts about humpback whales that will surprise you.

Smart creatures

Humpback whales are smart creatures and also vocal.  The population communicates with each other in their own dialect and has their own whale song to sing, which is the most complex one. Baby whales are not born knowing singing. They learn from other whales around. There is one more interesting thing, only the male whale's sing. 

Ear wax- to know the age

To know the age of tree rings in the trunks are researched similarly rings formed on the ear wax tells the researchers about the age of a humpback whale.  Earwax can also tell the scientists whether the whale was pregnant or about the chemicals it might have come across throughout its life. Scientists have learned much more about the humpback species with the aid of humpback ear wax.

They are blondes

When you will come for whale watching make sure to remember this point.  You might not find the creature furry, but there are tubercles around the mouth of the whale consisting of hair follicles which are light in shade of blonde.  Scientists have found that whales become hairiest after they are born. The hair is easily visible on the adult. Next time if the whale comes close to you make sure to notice this fact and confirm about humpbacks are blondes or not.

No vocal cords

Whales sing whale's popular song and much more you might have heard about whale song. This is going to surprise you but humpback whales do not have vocal cords. According to science, they make voices by manipulating air through their bodies. While singing they head is in down position in the shallow water.

Krill is preferred on the menu

Whales love krill and this is the reason why the huge part of their diet consists of just krill. Krill are small sea animals similar to shrimp. A huge whale certainly needs a colossal amount of these tiny creatures lets say almost more than a ton in a day to get the taste out of it.

Sing loud and long songs

If you are nearby twenty miles of a humpback whale especially at the mating season, then you can also sing the male humpback singing easily.   They sing for about twenty minutes in length. They also repeat the same song for many hours again and gain.

Colossal creatures

Whales are the last animals/mammals on the planet because they have huge flippers which are 1/3rd of their full length. They have 18 feet wide whopping tail. All this length makes whales really heavy.  An adult whale can weigh up to 40 tons.

Females are longer


Females are longer as compared to a male humpback whale. Females can measure up to 10 feet larger than males. When it comes to size females always win.

Underbellies unique markings

Each of the humpback whales is having unique design under the belly. These markings are like fingerprints in humans. Scientists use these patterns and marks to recognize specific whales while they are studying these creatures.

Toothless creatures

Humpback whales do not have teeth, but plates which are called as Baleen's.  This is the reason why they swallow the huge amount of food directly to their stomachs.  The baleen's act as the sieve to separate water from food.

Shy creatures

Humpback whales population is sizable and they don't like huge groups. Generally, you will see the traveling in pods (3-4 whales). Small groups are known as pods and mostly it is the mother and calves traveling or few friends.

Longest migration


Every sea creature has to migrate to different places for feeding, breeding or any other reason. Migration is an integral part of sea creature's life. This comes true when we talk about humpback migration, in fact, their migration is the longest in the animal kingdom.  Humpback is the only sea creature that migrates further. In an average season, they travel a distance of sixteen thousand miles. They migrate for 2 full years. Season's area also differentiated according to the mating and feeding rituals. Mating usually happens in winter and feeding in summers.

These are some of the most interesting facts that you have learned today about humpback whales, sea creatures which are different from its category in many ways. Humpback whales are the most popular ones when it comes to whale watching experiences.  People travel miles to see them migrating or returning back with their newborn calves to their feeding grounds.

All You Need To Know About Humpback Whales: Giants Of Water!

There are different categories of sea animals including different names, genres, classification, nomenclature etc.  There is one order Cetacean and all the members like Whale belong to this category.  Mammals like porpoises and dolphins do not belong to this category. The story of the Humpback Whale begins in the Antarctic region freezing water. These beautiful creatures are also called giants of the sea.  They migrate to the north of the earth to reproduce for which they have to find an ideal place where they can give life t their offspring.  They migrate to the specific places like,
  • Manabí
  • Santa Elena
  • El Oro
  • Guayas
  • Esmeraldas

These are the places where you are going to find more than four thousand Humpback Whales. This is the place where their survival ensures. Thousands of people from all over the world visit this place to experience the sight of these lovely creatures. Humpback Whale is the largest animal on planet and experience of watching it from close is everyone's dream. Out of all baleen whales, Humpback Whale is the most active one. You will mostly see them slapping in the water with their fins, spy hopping and breaching in the water. To watch them from closer to see those having fun there are vessels available.


Humpback Whale is the strongest and the heaviest mammals. The adult female can be 19meters and males up to 15 meters. Their average weight is 30-40 tons and because of which it is in the category of the colossal animals. This is also one endangered species. The reason is that they travel slow and becomes an easy target for whalers. They got their particular name due to the hump around their dorsal fin. Humpback Whale is a mesmerizing creature and they live in groups of 8-10 when they are living in cold water. When the migration comes they travel together to warm waters to Pacific where they stay from June –September.

(Did you know? Humpback Whale blow bubbles in water sometimes to make “nets” where fish is caught.)

A Little More About Humpback Whale!

Migratory route: - humpbacks residing in north Pacific travel in summer off coast Alaska to Mexico Bandera's bay and few other places to look for feeding grounds. They travel six thousand miles which is one of the longest migration.

Lifecycle: - these whales’ starts reproducing at the age of five and eight and then they can reproduce a baby once in every two to three years.  After eleven months the baby comes out to be fifteen foot in length and they can be two tons in weight. Mother Nurses the baby with pink colored milk which is having honey, about 50% fat. Whales do not have lips so they use their tongue to get to the nipples of mother and suck making a vacuum.  By the time mother and baby reach Alaska the baby is 25feet and ten tons. The mother still stays with the baby for one more year. A fully grown Humpback Whale is 35-48 feet long and is up to 65 tons. They can live up to 50 years. Females are a bit larger as compared to males. Whales migrate and they travel 300,000 miles throughout their lifetime annual migration. 

Feeding:- an adult whale feeds at the time of winters in Alaska waters and most often also feed in the water of Bandera's bay.  They trap the huge amount of water in their mouth and then squeeze all the water out swallowing all the fish and shrimp trapped in it.

(Did you know? There are scars and pigment unique patterns on its underside and very Humpback Whale has it differently. )

Humpback Whale distinctive features

There are many features in Humpback Whale that makes them different from other whale species. The most distinctive feature they have is pictorial fin, which is one-third of the average whale’s body to more than 15ft.  From the cetacean category, this is the longest fin that lives on the land and sea. They have Latin name Megaptera novaeangliae which means big winged. The color of the wing varies and it can be completely white or black. In the northern whales white is a predominant color. The fin helps whale in swimming. They definitely have distinctive physical features. They are also famous for the Humpback Whale haunting song. The most sophisticated song in the kingdom of animals. It is so powerful and loud that it can make swimmers shiver to bones when these creatures are totally immersed in the music.


Humpback Whale is also the most popular species for whale watching lovers. They have social behaviors. With their inquisitive and gregarious nature, they are powerful, spy hops, spectacular breaches and have a charisma that can give you a lifelong beautiful memory.

Basic facts about Humpback Whales

Humpback Whale is from cetacean order and like all the other whales they breathe air into their lungs, feed their babies on milk, warm-blooded and have a very little quantity of hair on them. They have forelimbs and flippers in the shape of a paddle and streamlined bodies similar to fish. Their flukes help them in paddling inside water. The majority of the species have the fin on their back. There is a small reservoir beneath the skin that is known as blubber. This is where they store their energy.  It is also used for insulation. They breathe through holes at the top f their head.


  • The diet of the whales is different that depends upon the species. The diet includes large marine animals with microscopic planktons.
  • The population varies from species to species. Humpback Whale is an endangered species.
  • They travel the long distance from cold to warm waters to find ideal breeding grounds to produce offspring.
  • They go through annual migrations
  • They travel in groups or pods.

(Did you know? A newborn Humpback Whale can get double its length in just one year. )
The majority of the whales are quite active in the water. They can jump high; get out of water and breach. They also slap their tails in water which means they are warning all the other sea creatures in the water. They communicate through lyrical sounds with each other. These sounds can be extremely loud and can be heard from miles away.  Whales are conscious breathers because they have to come out of the water to take the breath. All mammals need to sleep so as the Humpback Whale. They cannot get into the states of unconscious sleeping as they have to come to the surface to breathe.

Feeding season of humpback whales

Humpback feeds in the summer months when they can be found feeding, forging and hunting in water in the southern and northern hemisphere. This is the time to fill up their vessels so that they can have an active migration trip later in the year.  When it comes to diet humpback feeds on salmon, krill, capelin, mackerel, small fish and other preys.  Humpback whale is also called baleen whales because they have baleen plates instead of teeth so they can feed on limited types of food. They stick to the easy food that can be digested without any problem.


They cannot eat many types of fish and prey as compared to the toothed fish.  While hunting for food humpback might hunt individually and they are also found hunting in groups. When they hunt in groups they use different techniques to catch their food.  One of the most popular methods is bubble net. They also use their tails to splash water and stun their prey. This is also done toss care their praise and immobilizes them so that they can be easily consumed.

The mating season of Humpback Whale

When the water of the ocean starts getting colder and all the food in the water starts migrating to the warmer waters whales also starts their migration period. During winter period Humpback Whales fast and live on their reservoirs which they have fueled up in the summer. Once they reach their destination they start socializing with their mates and reproduce. Competition among males is fairly strong. Only the stronger males get the chance to mate with the female. They display their youthfulness through different behavior and acrobatics along with whale song. Competitive and communication includes breaching, lob tailing, spy hopping, tail slapping, sin slapping and charging.  Whale song is used to attract females and also to slow down the other male's dominance.  During the time of mating, this song can be heard from miles. Males continue to sing the song for about ten to twenty minutes after breaks for more than 24 hours.  Once they mate and reproduce they travel back to their home while feeding on their journey.

(Did you know? Humpback whales are relatively slow swimmers.)

Why Humpback Whales migrate?

These are the whales which migrate to find warm waters. There is a particular migration period when these whales migrate and become the most integral part of whale watching in different parts of the world.  Whales are meant for one thing and that is migration which they do the best. They travel miles in their entire lives.  For the whale watchers, the scenery is the lifetime experience. The excitement gets double when these whales return back with new calves. 


Humpback Whale and other whales travel to other parts to reproduce. The round trip to come and go back from where they actually belong can take 10,000 kms.  The water in the Antarctica where they live is too cold for the babies to survive. They have to travel to northern waters to give them ideal temperature to step into new life.  While traveling back to Antarctica they feed on nutritious mother's milk which allows them to grow and gain strength to breathe cold waters back home.

Humpback spends their summer time on feeding themselves. Antarctica water is filled with delicious krill. They gather strength to migrate back to home to withstand cold water of Antarctica.
(Did you know? Only the male Humpback Whale sing and it is the most complex song in the kingdom of animals. )

Humpback Whale migration

Humpback Whales residing in the north Pacific leave their icy cold water to Alaska during the snow time. They swim nonstop practically for 6-8 weeks before reaching Hawaiian winter dwelling where they mate, reproduce and nurture their little ones. Their annual migration is about six thousand miles which is the longest.
  • Like the northern hemisphere Humpback Whales they feed in summer in the subarctic regions and then travel to subtropical areas to breed in winters.
  • The eastern whales travel mainly between the northern California coasts in summer and in winter they travel to Mexico.
  • The western whales migrate between Japan in winters and Aleutian in summers.
  • The central whales migrate between Alaska gulf in winters and southeast Alaska in winters.


Some change between the groups has also been observed.  In the beginning, too late November mothers are nursing their calves and usually arrive in Hawaii first.  Then new yearlings and juveniles arrive. Adult males are next and then more females follow.  Finally, females which are pregnant arrive after feeding in Alaska. Humpback Whale species can be found throughout the world's oceans.

The Hawaiian island water is the most important habitat for Humpback Whale. These creatures prefer two regions in Hawaii; 4 Maui regions (kaho’olawe, Molokai, pengium band and lanai). There are many other areas where these whales have been spread in the Hawaiian regions.

Did you know? Humpback Whale spends about 90% of their time under the surface of the water.)

Additional information

  1. Humpback whales belong to a cetacean family-which includes all the porpoise, dolphin and different whale species.
  2. A full matured humpback whale can reach up to 40-60 ft in length and can weigh up to 80,000 lbs.
  3. A humpback whale is the most popular creature when it comes to whale watching
  4. Females give birth once in 2-3 years.
  5. They can live up to 40-100 years.

Humpback Whales: Feeding, Breeding, Lifespan, Migration, Threats, And A Lot More!

Humpback Whales are one of the most enormous creatures, like around the size of a bus. The scientific name of the Humpback whales is the Megaptera Novaeangliae, which means the large-winged of New England. These whales were given the common name due to the shape of their dorsal or back fin. Moreover, the way they look when the animal is diving, had a great impact on its name. The ‘large-winged’ is defined as the long, white and wing-like flippers, which are often as long as 1/3 of the full body length of the animal. When it comes to the color, they are black or grey in color, except for flippers, chest and belly, and sometimes, the base of the tail flukes.


They use the tail flukes as the fingerprints to detect the individual whales. They are considered as unique group of whales because of the wart-like round protuberances or can be called lubricates or bumps. These bumps on the humpback whales occur on the head onward of the blowhole and also on the edges of the flippers. These belong to the baleen family. This is why they are 14 to 35 long when it comes to the throat pleats, which get extended when they take in water during the feeding time.

The average length of the humpback whales that are found in the Northern Hemisphere is 49 to 52 feet or can say 15 to 16 m. while on the other hand, the humpbacks found in the Southern Hemisphere reach the length of the 60 feet or 18 m. it is also important to know that female humpback whales are normally larger than the male ones. A mature adult can weigh up to 35 to 50 tons as an average.

Know the range of the humpback whales 

From the range term, it is defined as the habitat of a humpback whale. These types of whales are found in all oceans to the boundaries of the polar ice. Normally, they have a tendency to follow definite migration paths from their feeding grounds in the summer to warmer sea waters in the winter months. It is likely to see that there are three unique populations of the humpback whales that do not communicate with one another. 
These are:
  •          In the North Pacific
  •        In the North Atlantic
  •          In the Southern Hemisphere or south of the equator

In the North Pacific area, where their inhabitants reach 15000 humpback whales feed in the summer months along the shore from California to Alaska. During the winter season, these whales travel to upbringing grounds off of Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Japan. On the other side, the populace in California travels to Costa Rica and Mexico, while the population in the Alaska travels to Hawaii.

How do humpback whales behave?

These big whales are well-known for their acrobatic behavior. Acrobatic humpback whales   normally jump out of the water, slap the water with the use of their flukes and flippers, and hit each other. According to the scientists, it is to be believed that these kinds of activities seem to be the form of the communication. The reason is that while performing these activities, they create a big deal of noise that can be heard at time-consuming distances under water. When it comes to the swimming patterns, they swim in pods or groups of up to a dozen or more at calving grounds. On the other hand, they move in smaller groups that are up to three to four during the process of the migration. Contrasting to other groups of baleen whales, thy can frequently be observed feeding cooperatively.

When we talk about the eating style of the humpback whales, the baleen plates are used to strain other types of small fish like herring, plankton, as well as the krill out of the water. In fact, their 270-400 baleen plates are dark in color. Each baleen plate is about 2 and a half feet in length. There are different types of feeding methods to be used by the humpback whales. One of the methods of the feeding is the lunge feeding. When this method takes into consideration, the whales plow through concentrated regions of the food with their big mouths open. They swell with the huge quantities of water and food.

Another method is the bubble net feeding, which allows them to blow a ring of bubbles directly from their blowholes, which encounter a school of fish or krill. This feeding method is followed by one or more than one whale. The humpback whales then swim via the ‘net’ with their mouths open mouthed and they take in huge quantities of food.


These whales are also known to be unique in behavior when it comes to the singing. They are renowned for their haunting vocalizations. These whales possess a rich repertoire, which covers many kinds of octaves. A humpback whale includes frequencies beyond the verge of the human hearing. They sing the songs, particularly sung by humpback males, last as long as twenty minutes. Afterwards, these songs are repeated by them, often with the slight changes. It has also noticed that every year, the song undertakes a number of changes from the year before, however, all males sing the same song. During the singing activity, a humpback whale floats while suspended in the water, and `then head down and comparatively motionless. Sometimes, the humpback male whales also show a lot of other behavioral aspects like aggression, mate attraction, and dominance, all of them belong to the singing.

Discuss the breeding and mating aspects

Female humpback whales give birth every 2 or more years. They experience the pregnancy that lasts for twelve months. The calves nurture for 8 to 11 months. Mother humpback whales and their young whales swim close together, where they often touch one another using their flakes or flippers with what seem to be the gestures of the affection. Female humpback whales nurse their young ones for almost 1 year, but it takes for longer than that for a humpback to reach the complete adulthood. The young ones do not stop developing until they are 10 years old.

Let’s talk about the life cycle of the humpback whales

A humpback whale lives around 45 to 50 years. It means that they will make their annually migration many times. What else occurs during these years? Get ready to know the lifecycle of these whales so that you can come to know about what they do during their entire life:

The baby humpback

Calves are born in warmer seawaters. They have a better chance for existence. When they reach, they have a weight of up to one ton and are 3 to 5 m long. During the first year, they will stay by the side of their mothers. They cherish on the high-fat milk of their mothers for at least five months that can be extended up to one year. If they drink 2 to 10 percent of the high-fat milk daily, then they can grow instantly to 8 or 9 m. furthermore, the female humpback whales also stay with their young ones in hot and protected waters till the development is completed or until the young one is ready to be on their own.


The growing humpback whales

Once they have grown, they start to travel with other humpbacks in pairs or groups. Prior to the commencement of the mating, their lives comprise of the feeding. These adolescent humpback whales   consume by filter feeding known as the method of feeding by using the baleen plates. Predatory primarily on krill, fish, and plankton, the standard humpback whale take in 2000 to 2500 kg of food every day. The growing humpbacks also initiate the use of the bubble netting, a feeding technique to collect their prey.

Adult humpback whales 

Lastly, when they turn up to complete adults, they are approximately 6 to 10 years of age. During this age, humpback whales   become sexually mature. It means that now, they can start breeding or mating with the male humpback whales. The length of the humpback male whales are 12 to 16m at the reproductive age. Approximately, female humpback whales measure 14 to 15 m, however they may develop as long as 18m.

A male humpback whale performs some beautiful activities to attract the female ones. They display their competence via breaching, singing, blowing bubbles, and occasionally chasing with other male humpback whales. Once a pair of the humpback whales has made a decision to breed, they will start swimming together, and moving in motion such as rolling and diving, which has a great resemblance to a frisky courtship. After a year later, the beautiful baby humpback is born, by the time, the pair of the humpback whales made the long swim to the temperate areas.


Migration arrays

These big creatures on the earth are known to travel to different locations according to the time of the year. Known for their haunting whale songs and the big size, they can be discovered while traveling throughout all of the major oceans of the world when it comes to the terms of habitat and location. Throughout the summer months, they are found in the colder regions of the globe like Antarctica and Alaska. When the winter months start rolling around and the ice caps have started to form, then we can see these whales to migrate to the locations like the gulf of Maine and Hawaii, these are the places where they like to spend most of the time in breeding and having offspring. Similarly to other baleen whales, they also have two major seasons, one of them is the feeding season, and another one is the mating season.
  •          Feeding season or the summer migration
  •         Mating season or the winter migration


In spite of being able to eat huge quantities of food, these humpback whales   are known to almost completely relinquish eating during the reproducing months and will live majorly off of the fat that is stored in the previous migration season that is the feeding season. After they are finished the mating and having the offspring, they go back to the northern and southern hemispheres, where they can have a chance to add a huge amount of stock of the food and get ready for the next reproducing season.

How they travel?

These mammals follow straight paths for weeks at once. It is not possible that they have a single migratory mechanism, rather than they depend on a combination of the position of the sun, magnetism of the earth, and even star maps to get guidance for their long mile journeys. According to the reports recorded by the scientists, the straight journey of the humpback whales is shown below in the image:


Factors affecting the place to migrate

To be more specific about the migration patterns along with the feeding and mating season, it is also to be seen that there are some factors that affect the selection of the feeding and reproducing place of these mammals. The factors like the depth of the water and the water temperature, climate changes, and also the abundance of the food.

The humpback whales like to feed in those areas, where they are likely to have a huge supply of the food and also get a chance to mate in warmer climates. In the warmer climates, they may get some safety throughout the mating season when they want or need to breed, give birth to the baby’s humpbacks and feed on their young ones.

If we compare the humpback whales to other animals or mammals, they are acknowledged for migrating great distances throughout the migration periods. These whales tend to travel furthermost as much as 16k miles for every year. This is why the humpback whales have become one of the traveling animals in the world.

On the other side, these mammals have also a great threat from the aspects like commercial whaling and hunting. Although, they are no longer considered greatly endangered species, still they suffer from a number of risks from humans like water pollution, noise pollution, overfishing, and collision with boats.

Get To Know About Humpback Whale And Its Migration!

Whales are one of the most beautiful creatures on the earth planet. They are a widely distributed and different group of completely aquatic placental marine mammals. They are creatures of the open ocean. The whales consist of 8 extant families including Balaenidae or right males, Balaenopteridae or the rorquals, Eschrichtiidae or the grey whales, Cetotheriidae or the pygmy right whales, Monodonitidae or belugas and narwhals, Kogiidae or the pygmy and the dwarf sperm whales, Physeteridae or the sperm whales, and Ziphiidae or the beaked whales.

Being an open ocean creature, a whale feeds, mates, gives birth, suckles, and raises the young at sea. Their adaptation to life undersea is extreme. This is why they are unable to live on the land. As there is a wide range of whales we can find in the sea, but in this post we are going to know about the Humpback Whale including interesting facts about them and the information related to their migration.

Humpback Whales

A Humpback Whale is a kind of whale, which belongs to the family of whales called as rorquals. Rorquals is a group, which includes the Blue Whale, Bryde’s Whale, Fin Whale, Minke Whale, Sei Whale, and much more. There are some common characteristics of these whales belonging to the same group of family. One characteristic is that they have dorsal fins on their back part, and another one is that they possess ventral pleats that ride for the tip of the lower jaw to the navel region.

They are featured by the control of the baleen plates and bristles rather than teeth to sieve the krill upon these whales feed. They are regular callers to the seaside waters off Southern Queensland. Throughout the winter season, they drift from Antarctic waters, cross through South Island New Zealand, to the hot waters of the tropics for the sake of calving, each and every year.


Description of the Humpback Whale!

Even though, they possess the normal shape of the fish, but they are mammals. This whale is warm blooded, breathe air and tolerates live young and nurtures them with milk. The name of the Humpback Whale or Megaptera Novaeangliae is taken from the Greek word ‘Megas’, which means great and pteron, a wing. This is because this whale has huge wings like paddles. When it comes to the pectoral fins, they are up to five meters or 15 feet in length, which is 1/3 of the animal’s total length.

A Humpback Whale can weigh up to 36000 kg. It has an idiosyncratic body shape with a knobby head. The special feature about them is that they are known for breaching and many other unique surface behaviors that make it popular among the whale watchers. When it comes to the Humpback Whale males, they create a complex song that lasts for 10 to 20 minutes that they repeat for hours at once. Their purpose for singing the song is not clear, but the more chances, it is to be found that it may have a role in reproducing.

Where to be found?

Humpback Whales are originated in seas and oceans around the world. These creatures typically migrate up to 25k km every year. When it comes to the feeding, they do in the polar waters, and travel to subtropical or tropical waters to breed and then produce young when they fast and rely on their fat reserves. They eat small fish and krill, which makes most of their diet. Other diet foods of these whales are capelin, salmon, mackerel, herring, and a wide range of crustaceans. They follow a different stock of feeding methods that include the bubble net technique. As other whales were the target of the whaling industry, this whale was too. Once hunted to the edge of the extinction, their population fell down by an estimated 90% before the moratorium in the year of 1966. On the other hand, the stocks have incompletely recovered, but the predicament in the fishing gear, noise pollution, and collisions with ships carry on to put a great influence on the population of 80k.

Feeding techniques

As mentioned-above, the bubble netting is one of the most effective techniques to be used by the Humpbacks to hunt the food. A bubble net is a kind of a group effort or contribution that includes a number of humpback whales that circle a group of fish or other kind of prey to enclose them together while some whales blow bubbles under the fish so that they can compel the fish towards the surface. When the fish are out-of-the-way together, then these humpbacks will take turns swimming throughout the fish’s ball, eating their immobilized prey.


An important thing about the Humpback Whale is that they are capable of consuming a huge amount of food in a single day. While on the other hand, they are also well-known to fast throughout the mating periods. They depend on the fat, they consume in the food or they have obtained during their feeding season.

What’s about the feeding season?

Now, coming to the point that is the feeding season for humpbacks. The feeding season for these whales occurs in the months of the warmer summer. They can be discovered hunting, searching, and feeding in and around the icy climates near both the Northern and Southern Polar Hemispheres. They use this precious time to make their blubber supply for their relocation trip towards their reproduction grounds later in the year.

Due to their baleen plates, they are restricted in the kinds of foods they can consume. This is why they have a tendency to stick with smaller prey that can be easily and quickly digestible in nature. Although, they are not capable of taking as many kinds of prey as other toothed whale species can take. A Humpback Whale is renowned to rely on different kinds of fish that gives them with more a different diet when we take the comparison of the diet of other members of the baleen whale group into account. It also tends that they may search for the food as the prey individually or they work together as a group to get their food. When they consider group hunting, these mammals can use a huge variety of dissimilar methods to get hands on their prey.

Know the mating season

When the freezing of the water takes place throughout the colder winter months and also their food supply starts to travel towards warmer waters, they also start migrating towards those coastal areas, where there will be warmer tropical climates. They start fasting during the winter and get energy from the stored fat in the body that take place during the summer months. When they reach their destination that is closer to the tropical regions of the world, this is the time they initiate mating, mingling, and reproducing.


There is a strong competition among male humpbacks, which are said to be powerful throughout the mating season with males that charge one another. The male Humpback Whales show their youngness by performing a lot of acrobatic behaviors. Even, they also compete with other while singing the songs that would be a great experience to go through. When it comes to competitive and communication behaviors, they may involve lob tailing, spy hopping, fin slapping, breaching, charging, and tail slapping.

The reason why the male humpbacks sing is that they want to attract the female humpbacks towards them. When they sing the songs, they are believed to display their dominance behavior towards other male humpbacks. People can hear the whale songs during the mating time period from miles away. A male Humpback Whale can carry on singing for over 24 hours and the songs last for 10 to 20 minutes individually.

Afterwards, when they are done with the mating and giving birth to the young ones, they initiate their long trip back towards their breast-feeding grounds to gather the food and get ready for the next mating season.

The incredible Humpback Whale migration

These humpback whales follow a perfect migration time every year. They are found in Icelandic waters. When the early spring arrives, they go through a long trip of about 7000 km or 4600 miles starting from the Gulf of Mexico to Iceland, this generally takes place in the March month. The Humpback Whales swim for at least one month before their arrival at the Southern Coastal waters of the Iceland. It has been seen that these whales do not tend to travel alone. The female humpbacks go with their calves to their destination that is the rich feeding grounds.

Hurdles to face

The journey of the Humpback Whales seems to be easier, but in the actual, it is not like that. The trip is not only long, even it is death-defying. While crossing the path, they have to face a number of hurdles. In spite of their huge size, they are under threat from the greatest predators of the world, which are the killer whales.  These killer whales are named as orcas, which wait in oceans all over the world and look for the options to feed themselves.

In any case, if any of the killer whales are able to find thee Humpback Whales, especially the females and the young ones, they will make efforts to isolate the baby from its mother. This condition will eventually become serious and dangerous. If the killer whales get success in taking the calf away from the mother, usually they work together to do this job, they will afterwards attempt to make the calf die by biting them and extracting the pectoral fins of the Humpback Whale’s calf until the calf gets tired. Chasing the calf by the killer whales can last for many hours. Lastly, the orcas will take-off from the water onto the back of the calf that covers the blowhole of the whale. It makes the calves feel suffocated. This is not the only trouble, the Humpback Whales experience during their travel.

Finally, they arrive their destination, Icelandic waters, by the month of the April. At that time, they are completely hungry and become thin as they are living without the food for months in the tropical waters. During the mating season, they concentrate on breeding and barest-feeding their newly born calves in the comparatively safe seawaters of the Gulf of Mexico. The main reason why they experience this incredible trip to the Iceland is the abundance of food the Iceland waters have.


Those whales, which are originated in the Atlantic ocean that have white flippers. They are easily acknowledged by seeing the patterns on their freaks that are unique. These freaks have a great resemblance to our fingerprints. When these whales are in the North Atlantic, the whales will disappear during the Icelandic waters. Several whales break the barks of the Reykjavik Area, while others like to visit the South, and some other swim up north to Eyjafjörður, in which these whales share the rich feeding grounds along with the blue whales.

For the upcoming nine months, the humpback whakles depend on cod, krill, sardines, and other instructing fish in the cold Iceland waters. They stay in the Eyjafjörður because the waters around this are so much fertile that several whales will be able to reside in this region the whole year. This time, a number of boats in Akureyri can be sailed out to observe these feeding mammals in less than just 30 minutes. If you want to experience the humpback whale watching, then you must prepare for a dive, jump, and fly their fins that are surrounded by the subarctic Icelandic nature. It will give you the experience that will keep with you for your entire lifetime.

By the end of the October month and the early November, it is to be noticed that most of the humpback whales are well nourished and ready for their seasonal relocation back to the region, where they have resided before that is the Gulf of Mexico. Their yearly migration is considered as the longer recorded journey as compared to other mammals all over the world.