Category of Organisms Marine Mammals
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum/Division Chordata
Class Mammalia
Order Cetacea
Family Ziphiidae
Genus Ziphius
Species cavirostris
Binomial Name
Ziphius cavirostris
Author G. Cuvier, 1823
Common Name Cuvier's beaked whale
Local Name  
Size Range
Although Cuvier’s beaked whales can be found nearly anywhere in deep (>200 m) waters, they seem to prefer waters near the continental slope, especially those with a steep sea bottom. Off Japan, whaling records indicate that Z. cavirostris is most commonly found in waters deeper than 1,000 m (Heyning 1989). The species is known around many oceanic islands, and in some enclosed seas. It is rarely found close to mainland shores, except in submarine canyons or in areas where the continental shelf is narrow and coastal waters are deep (Heyning 1989, 2002) and is mostly a pelagic species that appears to be confined by the 10°C isotherm and the 1,000 m bathymetric contour (Houston 1991; Robineau and di Natale 1995).

Endemic No
Found in Marine Park No
Found in Malaysia Yes
Cuvier's Beaked Whale has a short beak in comparison with other species in the family, making for a slightly bulbous-shaped melon. The melon is white or creamy in colour and the white strip continues back to the dorsal fin about two-thirds of the way along the back. The rest of the body varies from individual to individual in colour, some are dark grey, others a reddish-brown. Individuals commonly have white scars and patches caused by cookie-cutter sharks. The dorsal fin varies in shape from triangular to highly falcate. The fluke of the whale is about one-quarter the length body. The whale grows up to about seven metres in length and weighs 2-3 metric tonnes. They live for forty years. The Cuvier's Beaked Whale is difficult to distinguish from many of the mesoplodont whales at sea.

Cuvier's beaked whales, like all beaked whales, appear to prefer deep waters for feeding. Dives of up to 40 minutes have been documented. Although few stomach contents have been examined, they appear to feed mostly on deep-sea squid, but also sometimes take fish and some crustaceans (MacLeod et al. 2003). They apparently feed both near the bottom and in the water column. As with other beaked whales, suction appears to be used to draw prey items into the mouth at close range (Heyning and Mead 1996).

Status in IUCN Red List Least Concern (LC)
Status in CITES Species Database II
Other Link(s)
Collection Record