The Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis) is distinguished from other whales by the callosities on its head, a broad back without a dorsal fin and a long arching mouth that begins above the eye.
Approximately 10,000 southern right whales are spread throughout the southern part of the Southern Hemisphere.
Occurance: Southern Right Whales can be viewed on the Cape Whale Route.
During the winter months (June - October) the Southern Right Whales migrate to the coastal waters of the western Cape of South Africa. Whilst in the area, the whales can be seen with their young as they use the protective bays to calve and mate.
Hermanus is one of the world centers for whale watching.
Features: the head is large and covered with wart-like bumps called callosities. These differ in size and position and are often used to identify individuals.
Length: males are on average 15.2 m and the females 16.5 m.
Weight: 40 000 - 55 000 kg
Lifespan: estimated to be 90 - 100 years.
Sailing: seen to lift their tails out of the water for long periods
Breeding biology: gestation period is about 12 months, calf and mother spend the first year together and females usually have one calf every 1-3 years.
Diet: plankton and other tiny crustaceans are constantly being ingested
See also Brydes Whale and Humpback Whale