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Humpback Whales Head Lunging
Megaptera novaeangliae
Humpback Whales Head Lunging
One of the more common behaviours of the Humpback Whale is headlunging and all Humpbacks display this behaviour.

Headlunging appears to be the beginnings of a breach but the whale does not fully emerge from the water as it does for a breach. I observed headlunging of most of the 100 trips out to visit the whales.

Male Humpbacks, female Humpbacks and calves all headlunge.

For larger male whales a headlunge appears to be an aggressive move by the male Humpback.

For female Humpbacks I've seen them headlunging as they were just swimming along so it is probably also a way for them to figure out where they are and what is near them above the surface.

I have also witnessed callves endlessly headlunging along side their mother with the mother also exhibiting the behaviour at the same time so probably educating the calf with the calf practicing it's headlunging techniques.

There are photos on this web site of a large whale doing a headlunge right in front of a whale watching vessel in what appeared to be an aggressive manouver but could have just been the whale having a bit of fun by splashing all the people at the front of the boat.

Humpback Whales are not known to hit boats except for one incident on a boat that was under sail (so making no sound).

Humpback Whales are not known for aggression, in fact in over 100 trips I have never felt threatened and have always been completely at ease even when only a few feet away from a large Humpback. They are gentle curious giants.
Gary Crockett
Copyright 2011
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