Curious humpback whale calf

Humpback whale

Humpback whales migrate seasonally from the tropics to their northern feeding grounds, and during the summer months they must feed intensely in preparation for this migration. They hunt cooperatively using the ‘bubble net’ strategy where several whales circle underwater emitting a stream of bubbles, which trap fish within an air ring, the whales can then gorge on the contents of their ‘net’. These magnificent whales are renowned for their acrobatic aerial breaching, and their beautiful yet complex songs, performed by males during courtship.

Did you know?
Humpback whales have five metre long flippers that are almost one third of their body length.

Scientific name: Megaptera novaeangliae

Rank: Species

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The Humpback whale can be found in a number of locations including: Great Barrier Reef, Mediterranean. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Humpback whale distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Increasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • What on Earth...? 2009 What on Earth...? 2009

    Watch the year's highlights from the BBC's exploration of the planet's hidden corners and rarest creatures: from the turquoise seas of the South Pacific to the Lost Land of the Volcano.