Humpback Whale Behaviors Photo Guide




The Humpback whale uses its tail to push its entire body out of the water into midair, then comes crashing down on the water with huge splash.

Humpback whale breach



Spy Hop

The Humpback whale vertically pops its head out of the water. It is believed that this behavior allows the whale to view activity above the surface of the water.

Humpback whale spy hop



Tail Slap

The Humpback whale uses its flukes to repeatedly slap the surface of the water. The slapping is repetitive and may be signaling a warning to other whales.

Humpback whale tail slap



Pectoral Fin Slap

The Humpback whale uses its pectoral fins to slap the water’s surface. The Humpback whale may use one or both of its fins for this behavior.

Humpback whale fin slap



Head Lunge

The Humpback whale performs this competitive behavior, where it lunges its massive head forward as it is raised above the water’s surface.

Humpback whale head lunge



Peduncle Slap

The Humpback whale raises its tail high out of the water and slaps its peduncle against the surface.

Humpback whale peduncle slap



Fluke Up Dive

The Humpback whale dives deep under water causing the tail to first form an upward arch, then slowly descend vertically underwater.


Humpback whale tail




Adult Humpback whales take a breath every 10-15 minutes, but may remain under water for as long as 45 minutes. Calves must breathe every 3-5 minutes.

Humpback whale blow


About Author

Na Pali Riders