Peale’s dolphin

Lagenorhynchus australis

1.3 - 2.2m

Dark grey


Dorsal fin

Peale’s dolphins have a chunky, sturdy body. Their dorsal fin has a dark grey leading edge and a lighter grey trailing edge. They are dark grey/black in colouration, with a white/grey blaze extending from the tailstock to underneath the dorsal fin. They have a bright white patch leading to their pectoral fins and a striking white belly. Peale's dolphins are frequently sighted in mixed pods with Commerson's and Risso's dolphins. 

Key features: 

  • Short, pointed beak 

  • Dorsal fin is tall, falcate and two-toned

  • Black throat, hood and face with a white patch and blaze on the flank 

  • Normal swimming unless bowriding 


Peale’s dolphins are usually seen in small, slow-moving pods of 5 - 20 individuals.  They frequently bow ride and occasionally exhibit more active behaviours such as energetic porpoising, breaching, spinning and somersaulting. 


Peale’s dolphins were once hunted in large numbers to be used as bait for fisheries in Chile, and the numbers being killed today are still of great concern. They are also at risk from being entangled in coastal gill nets, and from coastal developments such as fish farms and oil and gas production leading to the degradation of their coastal habitat.


Peale’s dolphins are only found in the shallow coastal waters of southern South America, often seen near the entrances to the fjords of Chile and Argentina. They are seen regularly in the Falkland Islands, Tierra Del Fuego, the Magellan Strait and Cape Horn.

Study whales and dolphins as an ORCA OceanWatcher

The ORCA OceanWatchers online training course, along with a bespoke app, will enable everyone to collect data about whales, dolphins and porpoises. And it can be collected from anywhere that you can see the sea - whether that’s from your local beach, on holiday at the coast, scanning the seas from a cruise ship, travelling via ferry, or from your own boat.

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