Regularly Sighted Species

Of the 83 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) currently recognised in the world, 24 species have been recorded in the waters off the west coast of Scotland in recent years. These records can be divided into those species that have been seen fairly regularly as live animals and those that are seen quite rarely or as stranded animals.

Follow the links below to find out more about the whales, dolphins and porpoises that have been seen regularly in the Hebrides in recent years. These include species that are resident year-round as well as seasonal migrants that visit during the summer months. In this section you will also find information about rarely sighted cetacean species and some of the other marine species seen in the Hebrides. 

Cetacean artwork ©Martin Camm, Wildlife Art Company

Harbour Porpoise

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Harbour porpoise Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The harbour porpoise is the smallest of the cetacean species found in the Hebrides. Adult animals measure 1.4 to 1....

Bottlenose Dolphin

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Bottlenose dolphin Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

Scottish bottlenose dolphins are large, robust animals measuring up to 3.8 metres long and weighing around 400 kg when f...

Common Dolphin

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Common dolphin Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The common dolphin has a distinctive creamy yellow hourglass pattern along the sides, with a dark grey back, tail and fl...

Atlantic White-sided Dolphin

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Atlantic white sided dolphin Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The Atlantic white-sided dolphin has a very distinctive colour pattern, making it fairly easy to identify. The uppe...

White-beaked Dolphin

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White beaked dolphin Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The white-beaked dolphin is a sturdy, robust-bodied animal that can reach 3.1 metres in length and weigh up to 350 kg wh...

Risso's Dolphin

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Risso's dolphin Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The Risso's dolphin has a robust, stocky body and a tall, falcate (curved) dorsal fin. The melon (forehead) is blun...

Killer Whale

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Killer whale Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

Killer whales, also known as orcas, are actually the largest members of the dolphin family. Their size, colouration...

Minke Whale

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Minke whale Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The minke whale is the smallest of the baleen whales found in UK waters, measuring 7 to 10 metres when fully grown. ...

Humpback Whale

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Humpback whale Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The humpback whale is very easily distinguished from other baleen whales by its distinctive appearance. The head has a n...

Fin Whale

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Fin whale Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The fin whale is the second largest of all cetacean species, and can reach 27 metres in length when fully grown although...

Sperm Whale

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Sperm whale Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales. Males can grow to 18 metres in length, whilst females can rea...

Northern Bottlenose Whale

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Northern bottlenose whale Copyright Andrew Camm, Wildlife Art Company

The northern bottlenose whale is a beaked whale (family Ziphiidae) that has a very distinctive bulbous melon (forehead) ...