Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) breaching in unison off the north coast of Kupreanof Island, Frederick Sound, Southeast Alaska, USA.
These two humpback whales were members of a cooperative feeding group using bubble nets to herd and catch shoals of herring. There are submerged reefs in this area that they were working for a while, and it is most likely that they were breaching to create panic and shock waves to herd the herring against the reef and shoreline. I witnessed this behaviour several times with cooperative feeding pods when some of them either breached or lobtailed in unison in strategic locations to herd the shoal of herring into a bay, against a shoreline or submerged reef. I once witnessed five whales breaching simultaneously. It's incredible how they manage to coordinate their breaching over distance: another example of their highly developed social behaviour and communication.
- Duncan Murrell
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- Contained in galleries
- Humpback Whales - Other Behaviour