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Bowhead Whale

Bowhead Whale

The size of a Bowhead Whale compared to an average human
The size of a Bowhead Whale compared
to an average human

Bowhead Whale Range Map (Arctic & Subarctic Waters)
Bowhead Whale Range Map
(Arctic & Subarctic Waters)
Latin Name Balaena mysticetus
Conservation Status Conservation Dependent
Location Arctic & Subarctic Waters
Colour Grey/Black
Length 14 - 18 m (45 - 60 ft)
Weight 50 - 60 tonnes (49.5 - 59 tons)
Life Expectancy Well Over 100 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Bowhead Whales are between 14 and 18 m (45 - 60 ft) in length and they weigh between 50 and 60 tonnes (49.5 - 59 tons). They are grey/black in colour and their huge head is almost one third of their total body length.

They have strongly curved or "bowed" jaws, hence their name. On each side of their upper jaw they have 240 - 340 brown or blue/black baleen plates that reach lengths of up to 4.5 m (14.8 ft) - the longest of any whale.


Bowhead Whales are found in Arctic and subarctic waters.


Bowhead Whales feed on crustaceans and they consume around 1,800 kgs (3,970 lbs) of food per day.


Bowhead Whales breed in late spring or early summer and after a gestation period of 13 - 14 months a single calf is born. At birth the calf is 4 - 4.5 m (13 - 15 ft) in length and they are nursed for 6 - 12 months.

The birthing interval for Bowhead Whales is 3 - 4 years, but it can occasionally be as long as 7 years.


Predators of Bowhead Whales are humans and killer whales.


There are no subspecies of the Bowhead Whale.

Interesting Facts

Bowhead Whales are also known as:
Greenland Right Whale
Arctic Whale
Black Right Whale

Bowhead Whales are possibly the longest living mammal on earth.

Similar Animals

North Atlantic Right Whale
North Pacific Right Whale
Southern Right Whale
Pygmy Right Whale

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