Whale Behavior

Check out these amazing facts about Humpback Whale Behaviour!

Humpback Whale behavior!

If you have ever been whale watching or have seen these majestic creatures on television, you may be familiar with whales visually spectacular range of surfacing behaviors. It is believed among experts that some of these behaviors allow whales to work out their position in relation to land or allow them to communicate with other whales. Fin slapping is another behavior that may be used to signal danger or be used as a warning while another theory is that whales launch themselves out of the water and fall back to create a large splash to help remove skin parasites. While the apparent reason behind some of these behaviors are unclear to us they are very spectacular to witness.

Here are some of the surfacing behaviors that we have seen on board Whalesong Cruises!


Breeching is a type of surfacing behavior where most or all the body of the whale comes out of the water. This behavior is observed in most whales but some whales, such as Humpbacks seem to perform this behavior more frequently than other species. Many theories have been suggested as to why whales do this, such as communication, attract other whales, ward off males or perhaps just for fun, currently no one really knows.

Tail Slapping/Fin Slapping

This behavior occurs when a whale lifts their tail fluke out of the water and then brings it crashing down onto the surface of the water with force, creating a large slapping noise. This behavior is associated to communication, scaring fish or even as a sign of aggression between whales.

Spy hopping

Spy hopping is behavior that is often seen while whale watching, the whale lifts their head and a part of their body vertically out of the water, it is commonly believed that whales do this to look outside of the water, Whales have good eyesight and they may be just as interested in watching you as you are of them.


Whales are mammals and have lungs, this means they need to breathe air, whales blow air, water vapor and mucus as they surface to breathe. Did you know that each whale species has a distinctive blow? A Humpback whale’s blow is often small and cloudy!

Whales, unlike humans who breathe involuntarily, must consciously think about surfacing to breathe. Because of this, whales do not sleep, instead they rest with one half of their brain remaining active to focus on breathing.