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Hawaii Humpback Whales

Facts Humpback Whales
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Humpback Whales in Hawaii

Oahu Whale Watching Hawaii

How can I identify a
Humpback Whale in Hawaii?

Humpback Whales in Hawaii
Breeding and Birthing

How big is a Humpback Whale?

Humpback Whales in Hawaii on a Diet

Humpback Whale Behaviors

Endangered Humpback Whales
in Hawaii

How long do Humpback Whales live? How do Humpback Whales die?

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Humpback Whales on Oahu

Humpback Whale
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Humpback Whales in Hawaii Breeding and Birthing

Humpback whales are thought to breed and give birth in or near Hawaiian waters. It is thought that they prefer warm, shallow waters for these activities, though neither activity has yet been observed or documented. Humpback Whales have complicated courtship behaviors. Male humpback whales have been observed surrounding a female and competing with each other to get close to the female. Sometimes males lunge at and bash into each other.

Humpback whales mature sexually at age 6 to 8. Female humpback whales give birth every two to three years. The gestation period is 11 or 12 months. Like all mammals, humpback whale calves are born alive. Humpback whale babies weigh up to 3000 pounds (1.4 metric tons) and are ten to fifteen feet (4 to 5 meters) long. Calves feed on mother's milk for approximately a year before they are weaned. Humpback whale milk is very rich, containing as much as 50% fat and humpback whale calves can consume 100 gallons or more of milk a day. It is thought that a baby humpback whale can gain as much as 100 pounds and grow an inch a day. They can often be seen playing along side their mothers, practicing breaching and slapping the water. Humpback whale calves can dive for an average of 3 to 5 minutes. They are very curious and rely on their mother for protection from predators, boats and other dangers.

How big is a Humpback Whale?

Humpback whales that visit Hawaii weigh from 25 to 40 tons. Adult male humpback whales are from 40 to 48 feet long. Adult female humpback whales average 45 to 50 feet (over 15 meters). A humpback whales head takes up about one third of the body length. Humpback whales most recognizable feature are their long flippers which extend up to 15 feet (5meters) and are from one quarter to one third the length of their bodies. The humpback whales scientific name, Megaptera novaeangliae, meaning "long-winged New Englander,” refers to these pectoral or side fins. A humpback whales tale fin, called a fluke, can measure 15 feet (5 meters) across. The white pattern found on the bottom of the fluke is unique to each humpback whale and is used to identify individual whales, just like human finger prints.

Humpback Whales in Hawaii on a Diet

One amazing fact about humpback whales in Hawaii is that they are fasting. The incredibly clear Hawaiian waters contain very little phytoplankton or krill, microscopic plant life and minute crustaceans, which Humpback whales feed on during the summer in Alaska and more northern climes. For 4 to 6 months they live off of their blubber, or fat layer. Average weight loss during the winter migration and stay in Hawaii is about 25%, or 6 to 8 tons. Humpback whales can lose up to 1/3 of their body weight. Mothers nursing young are particularly under stress.

Humpbacks whales are baleen whales. They filter food through a large array of baleen plates. They eat krill, anchovies, cod, sardines, mackerel, capelin, and others sorts of schooling fish by sifting them out of the water with the baleen.

Some humpbacks make "bubble nets" with the air that they release from their blow holes to corral their food. The humpbacks swim up from the deep in a spiral patter while releasing a steady stream of bubbles.THe bubbles surround the prey and corrals the fish or plankton so the humpback whale can swim through the center with jaws open for a great gulp of food.


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