Antarctic minke whale

Balaenoptera bonaerensis

7 - 10.5m



Dorsal fin

Antarctic Minke whales are small baleen whales with two grey chevrons that create an 'M' shape on an otherwise black body.  They have a pointed rostrum with a single median ridge. 

Key features: 

  • Small, weak blow, which is rarely visible 

  • Tall hook-shaped dorsal fin

  • Two grey chevrons on black sides 

  • Fast, distinctive surfacing sequence 


The Antarctic Minke whale has a very quick surfacing pattern. They surface just once or twice before a dive and the quick roll of their back makes them much harder to see than the larger rorqual whales. They are generally solitary but can be seen in small groups of two or three.


Antarctic Minke whales, like many whale species in Antarctica, are reliant on krill to feed on. As climate change alters the ocean ecosystem Antarctic Minke whales are at risk from losing their food source and changing sea temperatures.


Antarctic Minke whales are found in the Southern Hemisphere and range from Antarctica to more tropical South Atlantic, Indian, and South Pacific oceans. They are usually seen in shallow coastal waters and many migrate to feed in Antarctica.

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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