Photo of a Humpback Whale Singing

A humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) singing, Hawaii. This was shot under research permit as part of the research activities of the Hawaii Whale Research Foundation. It is virtually certain that only male humpback whales sing since genetic sampling of singers has never revealed a female. This one was hanging motionless 40′ under the surface for the duration of the 15 minute song. The same song is sung by all humpback whales in the North Pacific basin in a given year, gradually changing from year to year. A few remaining barnacles from cold northern waters are visible on the right tip of the fluke and around the genital slit on the whale’s underside; these barnacles will die and fall off the warmer Hawaiian waters.

Humpback whale (male) singing, Megaptera novaeangliae, Maui

Humpback whale (male) singing.
Image ID: 02802
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Maui, Hawaii, USA

More humpback whale photos.

This photograph was taken during Hawaii Whale Research Foundation research activities conducted under provisions of NOAA / NMFS and State of Hawaii scientific research permits.

About Phil Colla

I am a natural history photographer. I enjoy making compelling images in the ocean, on land, and in the air. I have maintained the Natural History Photography blog since 2005 and my searchable Natural History Photography Library since 1997. Here are some tear sheets and behind the scenes views. Thanks for looking!