Cuviers' Beaked Whale
Ziphius cavirostris

Scientific Name: Ziphius cavirostris

Other Names: Cuvier's Whale, Goose-beaked Whale, Goosebeak Whale.

Suborder: Odontoceti

Family: Ziphiidae

This medium-sized beaked whale is generally dark-grey or reddish-brown with an often paler face and lighter spots (possibly the work of cookie cutter sharks). The head is smoothly sloping with an indistinct melon and beak. Mature males have two small teeth visible at the tip of the lower jaw.

May be seen close to boats but it not particularly approachable. 

Maximum Length
Adult: 4.7-7m
Newborns: 2-2.7m

Maximum Weight
Adult: 6000kg

 Cuvier's Beaked Whale Ecology

Range: Temperate, sub-tropical and tropical waters.

Usual Habitat: Continental slope and deep oceanic waters, therefore usually encountered offshore.

Usual group size: Often alone or in groups of 3 - 12

Main Diet: Squid and occasionally fish, possibly crustaceans.

Local population: Unknown

 Global range of Cuvier's Beaked Whale

Cuvier's Beaked Whales are likely to be found in the dark blue areas

 Conservation Information 

 Protection and Conservation Status

IUCN Conservation Status: 
Cuvier's Beaked Whales are listed as "Least Concern" on the IUCN red list.

SPAW Protocol:  Cuvier's Beaked Whales are cetaceans, which are listed under Annex II of the SPAW protocol. As such they require total protection under article 11 of this protocol which prohibits the "taking, possession, killing and commercial trade of the species, their parts or products". The SPAW protocol was created to help with the implementation and promotion of the Ramsar Convention and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Annexes of the SPAW protocol can be found here.

Local Laws: Cetaceans are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act of Trinidad and Tobago which offers protection to all species not listed under the second or third schedules of this act.

 Reports of Cuvier's Beaked Whales in Trinidad and Tobago

There are currently no reports of this species in Trinidad and Tobago.

The above information was obtained from the following sources:

  • A Princeton Field Guide: Whales Dolphins and Other Marine Mammals of the World by Hadoram Shirihai and Brett Jarrett (2006)
  • Smithsonian Handbooks: Whales Dolphins and Porpoises by Mark Carwardine and illustrated by Martin Camm (2002)
  • The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society's Species Guide at
  • The IUCN Redlist at
  • The SPAW protocol Annexes with links available at,83

We would like to thank the following people for the use of the art work and photographs:

  • Al√ęsha Naranjit (Illustration of Cuvier's Beaked Whale)
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