Andrew's beaked whale

Mesoplodon bowdoini
Other names: 
  • Bowdoin's beaked whale
  • Splay-toothed beaked whale
Maximum length: 
  • Male: 4.50m
  • Female: 4.90m
  • Calf: 2.20m
Maximum weight: 
  • Male: Unknown
  • Female: Unknown
  • Calf: Unknown
  • Squid
Estimated population: 
IUCN Listing: 
CITES Appendix: 
CMS Appendix: 
Not Listed

Very little is known about Andrews' beaked whales, with information coming from only 20 strandings. Too few records also result in little knowledge about distribution and none about behaviour. Andrews' beaked whale can be easily confused with Hubbs' beaked whale with sufficient cranial similarities suggesting that Hubbs' beaked whale may be a subspecies of Andrews', although recent morphological and genetic studies indicate the two species are distinct.


The Andrews' beaked whale has a short, thick white beak. The male has wide, flat teeth on the lower jaw of the arched mouthline which protrude over the beak. These teeth can be seen sticking out of the mouth in the adult male, though they do not erupt in the mouth of the female or juvenile. The head may have a light patch on the side and this is more marked in males. Males are dark blue-black with a lighter 'saddle' marking between the blowhole and dorsal fin. They are covered in white scratches and scars, thought to be signs of the males fighting each other for access to females. Females are slate grey with grey-white sides and belly. The Andrews' beaked whale has a very small dorsal fin, which may have a pointed or rounded tip.


All information on the Andrews' beaked whale has been gathered from stranded individuals, and it has never been observed alive in the wild. Analysis of stomach contents has shown that as with other species of beaked whale, they feed mainly on deep water squid.


Strandings have been recorded along the southern coast of Australia, including Tasmania and New Zealand (where half of all strandings are reported) as well as the Falkland Islands and Argentina. It is therefore assumed that this species has a preference for the colder temperate waters of the southern hemisphere and it is thought to be circumpolar in its distribution. Threats to the Andrews' beaked whale are unknown. Though the species has neither been hunted, nor been recorded as entangled in fishing nets, it could be negatively affected by noise pollution and climate change. No worldwide population estimates of Andrews' beaked whales are available and they are classified by the IUCN as Data Deficient.

Distribution map: