Scientific Name: Ziphius cavirostris

Malti: Il-balena ta’ Kuvjer

Although this species is rarely observed, it does inhabit the Mediterranean Sea, the Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) also known as the Goosebeak whale, is the most widespread and abundant of the beaked whales, although is rarely seen at sea. The body shape is similar to that of other beaked whales: rather robust, cigar-shaped with a small falcate dorsal fin and relatively small flippers. They are a dark slate grey over most of the body, with a distinctively white head in males and a slight lightening of the skin in females. Adults can grow to 7 metres.The males have 2 small teeth on their lower jaw, which they often use for fighting.

Cuvier’s beaked whales, like all beaked whales, feed mostly on deep sea squid, but will also eat and some crustaceans. They are usually found in small groups of 2 to 7, but are not uncommonly seen alone. The worldwide abundance is likely to be well over 100,000 but this is not confirmed.

They have a wide distribution and can be found in all oceans except polar waters, can be found within the Mediterranean; however the Cuvier’s Beaked whale not been observed at sea swimming in Maltese waters. Nevertheless, there was a report in June 2011 that a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, measuring almost 5 metres, has been washed ashore in Qawra. This species of whale is so rarely seen that almost everything known about it has come from studying stranded animals.