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,
  • ManabĂ­
  • 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.

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