Size: up to 17 metres
Weight: up to 30 tonnes
Speed: 27 km/hour
A fully-grown humpback whale’s weight is almost equivalent to the weight of seven to nine fully-grown elephants.
The pectoral fins (flippers) are approximately one third of the animal’s body length, thus distinguishing it from other whales. In addition, humpback whales have distinctive long knobbly flippers; the bumps on their flippers are called tubercles and these assist them in forming tighter circles around their prey in the water.
The black and white pattern on the underside of the tail fluke is as unique as a fingerprint and enables scientists to distinguish individual whales. Male humpback whales sing very long and complex songs when they are in the breeding grounds and recent studies suggest suggesting singing in the sub-arctic waters around Iceland in winter as well.
Humpback whales are among the most active and acrobatic species of whale. They are most commonly seen on whale watching tours in north of Iceland in summer months (April/May to September/October) although they’ve increasingly been seen in the south as well in late winter (January/February-March/April).