Blainville's Beaked whales are a rare deep diving species that is regularly seen off of Madeira.

Blainville’s Beaked Whale

Mesoplodon densirostris

Blainville’s Beaked whales are the most widely spread mesoplodont species of beaked whale found in temperate and tropical oceans. They are more often seen during the summer and fall months on Madeira whale watching tours. These beaked whales are another deep diving species that searches for its prey in the dark ocean depths. As Madeira has deep ocean depths close to shore, we often encounter them just 2-3 km from the coast.

They are sexually dimorphic as the females and males, in their adult form, are different. Females are larger and males have two erupted teeth that are often encrusted with goose barnacles – which can assist in determining sex when observing the Blainville’s Beaked whales. They are often seen here in Madeira in family groups which consist of one adult male, several females and calves.

Blainville's Beaked whales are often seen during the summer months on Madeira whale watching tours.

Species Information

The Blainville's Beaked whale is the most frequently sighted beaked whale species in Madeira.
  • Length: males 4.4 meters and females 4.6 meters

  • Weight: males 800 kg and females 1,100 kg

  • Lifespan: unknown

  • Diet: squid, small fish and cephalopods

Sightings data on the Blainville's Beaked whales in Madeira.


Sightings of Blainville’s Beaked whales are usually either a young solitary male or an older male with several females and often some young calves, especially as we most often see them during the summertime. They have an unusual surfacing profile where their snout pokes out above the water first. We usually see them on the surface for several minutes as the oxygenate their tissues before making a deep dive searching for food in the dark depths offshore of Madeira.