whale spotting drake passage What is a Baleen Whale?

Baleen whales have baleen plates instead of teeth which they use to collect shrimp-like krill, plankton and small fish from the sea. These bristly plates, made from the same protein that helps to grow human fingernails and hair (Keratin), filter the tiny food stuff from the water inside their mouths. basecamp antarctica

Amazingly, the ‘baleen’ of a bowhead whale can be up to 4 metres long.
Baleen whales are grouped into four families (with very complicated Latin names). The biggest is the blue whale which can grow up to 33m long and the smallest is the pygmy right whale, which grow to around 6.5m long. Baleen whales have two blowholes on the top of their heads which means their blows are more impressive than toothed whales, which only have a single blowhole.

A whlale breaching off the coast of Costa Rica
Baleen Whales have no vocal chords at all. But they can still make sounds. Their voices are deep, like moans or belches. They also have excellent hearing. So good in fact that it is believed they can communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away. The humpback whale is a particularly vocal baleen whale which sings complex songs that scientist presume are meant to attract the opposite sex.

Species of Baleen Whale Include:

▪ Bowhead whale
▪ Northern right whale
▪ Southern right whale
▪ Pygmy right whale
▪ Gray whale
▪ Humpback whale
▪ Common minke
▪ Dwarf minke
▪ Antarctic minke
▪ Bryde’s whale
▪ Omura’s whale
▪ Sei whale
▪ Fin whale
▪ Blue whale
▪ Antarctic blue whale
▪ Pygmy blue whale