Cuvier's beaked whale
By: Dagmar Fertl
Editted by: Poul Vendel
The Greek word xiphias meaning "swordfish" or ziphos
meaning "sword" and the Greek word cavus meaning "hollow" as well
as the Latin word rostrum meaning "beak".
The Cuvier's beaked whale is relatively robust with a short, poorly-defined beak. A pair
of v-shaped throat grooves can be seen. One diagnostic feature is the slight
concavity on the top of the head, which becomes more noticeable in older
animals. The dorsal fin, set about two-thirds the way back from the snout tip,
and it is small and falcate. The body is dark gray to light rusty brown, often
covered with light scratches and circular marks, with lighter areas on head and
belly. A single pair of forward-pointing teeth at the tip of the lower jaw erupt
only in adult males, and may be exposed outside the closed mouth in large males.
The Cuvier's beaked whale generally reach lengths of up to 7.5 m and
weighs nearly three tons.
The location in Africa:
The Cuvier's beaked whale lives on the majority of the African coastline.
The Cuvier's beaked whale are found mostly in small groups. They prefer deep water and
feed mostly on deep sea squid, fish, and some crustaceans.
Human impacts in African waters are unknown, although small numbers are
deliberately taken in the Mediterranean Sea.