Whale Behaviour and Terminology

Below are some examples of whale behaviour that will come up when discussing whales and whale watching. Whales spend up to 90 percent of their lives below the water, and wander into such stormy and remote seas that despite the urge scientists battle to follow. Consequently, we know very little about these huge yet mysterious mammals of the deep.

Did you know? Bryde's whales are distinguishable by the three distinct notches on their dorsal fins.

Have a look at our Whale Watching Infographic which depicts the different whale behaviours mentioned below.

Whale Terminology


Breaching is leaping or twirling whales, believed to be either communication, playfulness or to help with skin irritations.


Lotailing is tail vertically out of the water whilst the rest of the whale is submerged, followed by a resounding slap on the water's surface


Fluking is similar to lobrailing - tail out of the water, but this time it is the start of a dive


Just as it sounds, the whale lifts its head out of the water, perhaps to look around

Blowing or spouting

Blowing or spouting is the action of blowing water from their blowholes at the tops of their heads. Southern right whales have two blowholes


Logging is lying in the water with its head and back exposed, tail submerged.

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