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Humpback Whales

The Humpback Whale

The Official Marine Mammal of Hawai'i

Visit Hawai'i during the winter months, and you may be lucky enough to see humpback whales and their calves breaching offshore. These magnificent creatures migrate from Alaska each year to mate and give birth in the Hawaiian Islands. In the summer, they return to the rich feeding grounds off Alaska to fatten up. That's a round trip of more than 7,000 miles!

Big Babies

Humpback calves are born in January, after an 11 month gestation. The newborns are 11 to 16 feet long and can weigh 3,000 pounds- that's about the size of a small car! A calf is born tail first and must get to the surface of the water immediately for its first breath of air. Mom is always there to help, gently nudging her newborn to the surface. Like all mammals, a humpback calf drinks milk from its mother. And baby whales need a lot of milk. A baby blue whale drinks about 44 gallons of milk each day and gains 7 pounds an hour!

Whale Songs

Humpback whales are known for their elaborate songs. Performed by males during the breeding season, whale songs change from year to year.

Humpback Whale Statistics

Length: 43-45 feet.
Weight: 85,000-90,000 pounds (that's as much as 7 elephants).

Hawaiian Name


Resource: The Pacific Whale Foundation

To learn more about humpback whales and for kohola keiki activities, visit the Native Hawaiian Library

Other resources: Earthtrust

School paper got you down? Need info on wildlife? Visit The Animal Diversity Web

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More Whale Activities:

Humpback Whale Origami / Color A Humpback Whale / Whale Maze / Make An Ocean Diorama


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Copyright 2000 Tammy Yee. Paintings by Tammy Yee. All rights reserved.