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Sato’s beaked whale

Berardius minimus

Sato's beaked whale was only recognised as a new species in 2019. Only a few stranded individuals have been recorded in the North Pacific.

beaked whale illustration
Male Female Calf
Maximum length 6.9m Unknown Unknown
Maximum weight Unknown Unknown Unknown

IUCN conservation status: Near Threatened

What do Sato's beaked whales look like?

Sato's beaked whale may be confused with the more commonly found Baird's beaked whale. However, indications are that this whale is darker in colour. It is a smaller whale with a shorter beak than its close relatives. Unlike the rest of the black body, the beak is white in colour. The body may have scars from the bites of cookie-cutter sharks. The whale has two pairs of teeth in the lower jaw.

What's life like for Sato's beaked whales? 

Very little is known about Sato's beaked whales. If the source of other scarring seen on the whales is consistent with other beaked whales, it might suggest competition among males for mates.

Where do Sato's beaked whales live?

All recorded strandings have occurred in the North Pacific. Locations include islands such as Hokkaido (Japan), Sakhalin (Russia) and the Aleutian Islands (USA). It is thought therefore their distribution is very limited and occurs between 40°N and 60°N, and 140°E and 160°W.

What do Sato's beaked whales eat?

It is likely that as with other beaked whales they may feed primarily on squid, although some smaller fish species and shrimp may also be taken.

A photo of an unidentified beaked whale species.
A 2009 photo of three beaked whales in the Nemuro Strait, Japan with the dark color and short body matching the description of Sato's beaked whale. Photo © Hal Sato

Sato's beaked whales need your help

The main threats...

  • Noise pollution – Sato's beaked whales are vulnerable to naval sonar and seismic activity.
  • Plastic – this ever-growing problem is an issue for all whales and dolphins.

You can help save Satos's beaked whales...

By supporting WDC, you can help Sato's beaked whales to live safe and free. Together, we can: