Digital Whale Museum

Characteristics of Baleen Whales

Using minke whales as an example, let's take a look at the characteristics of baleen whales.

Baleen whales have a “baleen” or a filter-feeder.

Baleen bristles grow in triangular plates along the whale’s upper jaw, forming lines of around 100 plates each on both sides.

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Baleen whales eat krill and plankton.

Baleen whales use their baleen bristles to filter food from the water and mud.

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Baleen whales have two blowholes.

Their blowholes are located on top of their heads.

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Many baleen whales migrate seasonally.

Many baleen whales from both hemispheres migrate to colder climates during the spring and summer months in search of food, and they migrate to warmer climates during the autumn and winter months to give birth.