Baird's beaked whale (Berardius bairdii)
Baird's beaked whale (Berardius bairdii) is a deep-diving cetacean belonging to a group known as the ‘beaked whales’ due to their elongated beaks. The beaked whales are one of the most mysterious and least studied of all cetacean families.
Like other beaked whales, Baird’s beaked whale is characterized by the absence of all but one or two sets of lower teeth, called ‘battle teeth’. These aptly-named teeth, which are present in both the adult male and female, are used in much the same way as tusks in male-male confrontations. As a result, scarring can often be seen on the whales’ flanks.
Baird’s beaked whale has dark brown upperparts, and a lighter underside mottled with unevenly dispersed white patches. It has a small dorsal fin situated two thirds of the way down the body, a crescent-shaped blowhole, and a melon-like forehead from which its slender beak projects.