Killer whale

Killer whale

Distribution Map

The blue area shows where killer whales can be seen.


Species Identification


Length: 2.06-2.50m/6.8-8.2ft (newborn); 4.5-6.6 (8.5)m/14.8-21.8 (28.0)ft (adult female); 5.7-9.5 (9.75)m/18.8-31.3 (32.2)ft (adult male).

Head and Beak: The killer whale has a conical shaped head with indistinct beak.

Fins and Markings: Killer whales have a very tall (up to 1.8m), triangular erect dorsal fin (sometimes tilted forwards) – adult male; smaller distinctly curved fin – female and immature. Killer whales have black back and sides, white belly extending as backward pointing triangle.

ID: Conspicuous black and white coloration and tall dorsal fin are characteristic of killer whales.

Status and Distribution: Killer whales are widely distributed on the Atlantic seaboard of Northern Europe, mainly around Iceland, the Loften Islands and off Andenes in Western Norway, and in Northern Scotland, but occasionally seen south the Iberian Peninsula and east into the Mediterranean Sea. Killer whales are recorded in all months of the year, but in western Britain mainly between April and October.

Killer whale (Latin name: Orcinus orca)


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