Bryde's Whale

(Balaenoptera edeni)

IUCN Status: Threatened

NZ Classification: Nationally Critical

Bryde’s whales are resident to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and we are very lucky to be able to see them year-round on our safaris.

This species is named after a Norwegian man called Johan Bryde, because he discovered the species while setting up one of the first whaling stations in South Africa. The correct way to pronounce the name is ‘brooders’.

These whales have slender bodies and grow up to 15 metres in length. They tend to have dark grey backs and paler bellies.

They look fairly similar to other baleen whale species like sei whales, but we can tell them apart by the unique series of three long ridges on the top of their heads.

Bryde’s whales are baleen whales, meaning that instead of teeth they have baleen plates in their mouths. Baleen whales feed by gulping huge mouthfuls of water and these bristly plates act like filters or sieves, trapping krill, plankton and small fish.

They are surface feeders and make for an incredible sight when lunge-feeding: sweeping open-mouthed through large ‘boil-ups’ of fish.

Read our 10 facts you didn’t know about Bryde’s whales.

Keen to learn more about the whale species we find in the Hauraki Gulf? Check out the massive pygmy blue whale and the endangered sei whale.

Book your place on our next whale watching tour from downtown Auckland.