The humpback whales are famous for their acrobatics and captivating songs. They can reach 18 meters and up to 40.000 kg, and have a large, uniquely shaped body with a black or dark grey upper side. The pectoral fins are very characteristic and extremely long, reaching one third of the body length. The head is usually covered with knobs and often with barnacles.
These whales can be found in oceans and seas around the world. They are migratory animals, swimming up to 25,000 km (16,000 mi) each year! Humpbacks feed in polar waters, and then migrate to tropical and sub-tropical waters to breed and give birth. During this time the adults fast, only living off their fat reserves.
The humpbacks whale's caudal fin is used for photo-identification, since its pigmentation is really characteristic in each individual.
The sightings of this species around Madeira are more common during April, May, October and November, and are usually seen in groups of up to 3 individuals.