Marine Life Fun Facts - Humpback Whale Communication

August 27, 2014

By Captain Dave

As we mentioned in our previous "whale song" blog, Humpback Whales sing amazing songs while in our waters, seemingly using their internal orchestra to communicate with other whales in the area. While these songs are regarded as a form of communication, many wonder if they could also be considered a true form of language which only these magnificent mammals understand. Here is what we do know:

  • The ever evolving whale song has been found beyond our Hawaiian waters; including whales found migrating to place as far flung as Baja and Japan. This implies long distance communication between whales over thousands of miles.
  • The prevailing theory for this long distance sharing of song is the possibility of whales visiting Hawaiian waters passing the song on to others while visiting these far flung breeding grounds.
  • With the exception of these "passed down" songs, most whales will have a song unique to their population (i.e. Whales in the North Atlantic will sing a different tune than those here in Hawaii.)
  • While still theorized to be a form of communication for whales searching for a prospective mate, recent research has shown males generally approach other males mid-song.
  • Whale songs are also believed to imply territoriality, as singers will generally keep a distance of approximately 1/2 mile from other singers.

As research continues, we will update you with any new findings in this very important area of humpback whale behavior. Of course, if you would like to experience the sights and sounds of our wonderful guests for yourself, consider booking one of our Maui whale watch tours or sunset dinner cruises during whale season for a chance at observing the habits of these wonderful creatures in person!

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