Bowhead Whale

Bowhead Whale (Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort population)
Balaena mysticetus
NWT List of Species at Risk: 
Not applicable
NWT SARC Assessment: 
Not applicable
Federal Species at Risk Act list: 
Special Concern
COSEWIC Assessment: 
Special Concern
NWT General Status Rank: 

The Bowhead Whale is a large baleen whale (baleen is a flexible material found in long, thin plates along the jaw which act to filter small food particles rather than using regular teeth). The Bowhead Whale has a stocky barrel-shaped body and a large head that takes up about 30% of its length. Its body is mostly black; white markings appear with age on the chin, fluke tips and tail. Bowhead Whales do not have a dorsal fin and their pectoral flippers are small and paddle-shaped. The upper jaw is bowed sharply upward with an average of 330 baleen plates on each side. Adult females are slightly larger than adult males.

Weight: 75 to 100 t (82 to 110 tons). Length: Females, 16 to 18 m (53 to 59 ft); Males, 14 to 17 m (46 to 56 ft).

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