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Northern Right Whale - Balaena glacialis
Photo by Chris Slay

The northern right whale is very robust and lacks a dorsal fin. Its head comprises approximate one-third its body length and is often covered in wart-like growths. Its body is primarily black with various white markings on its underside. The northern right whale grows to 60 feet and can weigh up to 60 tons. It typically travels in groups of 2-3 and feeds by skimming water at the surface.

Northern Right Whale
(Balaena glacialis)

North Atlantic: Greenland to Florida and Texas

Temperate waters

Zooplankton, especially copepods


The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
The northern right whale is endangered because it is often hit and killed by boats because of its slow movements and surface-feeding behavior.

Learn More
- The National Marine Mammal Laboratory
- National Wildlilfe Federation
- New York State Department of Conservation