How to tell different whale species apart

Southern right and humpback whales are the most commonly sighted species in SA. Here’s how to tell the difference.

Whales grace the coastline of South Australia each year from May to October, which makes for some pretty spectacular whale-watching action.

The most commonly sighted whales in SA are the southern right whale and humpback whale. But how do you tell one from the other?

Become an expert whale watcher with these handy tips that will have you identifying whales in no time. Why not take them along the next time you go whale spotting?

 humback-from-southern-wright.jpg

It’s not just physical characteristics that can identify a species. Whale species behave differently and you can even tell one from the other by their actions. For example, a humpback whale has a bushy blow, but a southern right whale has a v-shaped blow. Familiarise yourself with these before you head off:

 whale-behaviours.jpg

Tips for whale watching

You can enjoy watching these magnificent whales breaching, body-rolling and tail-lobbing from viewing platforms or by booking with a private tour operator.

Here are some quick tips to get you started:

  • Bring a pair of binoculars.
  • Get up high for a better view.
  • Be patient – whales move at their own pace.
  • Know the law – marine mammal regulations are in place to protect whales from being disturbed while in our waters.
  • Stay up-to-date on whale sightings and share sighting info on the SA Whale Centre website.

Find out about the best places to spot these giants of the deep by reading our blog on top spots for whale-watching.

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