White-beaked Dolphin

Lagenorhynchus albirostris


A social species of dolphin, usually found in pods of 5-50 individuals, however pods can swell to 1500+ in the core parts of their range. Most recordings found groups of less than 10. Like most species of dolphin they are incredibly acrobatic and won’t shy away from boats.
The white-beaked dolphin is often confused with the Atlantic white-sided Dolphin, which by contrast is more slender with clearly defined patches. Their range extends across the 40-80°latitudes stretching between Canada to France, then up to Greenland. The Range includes Iceland, Faroe Islands, the UK and Scandinavia.

How to identify

A small, stocky dolphin which is generally dark grey or black with white fuzzy edged patches on its sides, beak and belly. The species has a short thick beak, and a tall curved dorsal fin.

Where to find it

The cold temperate waters of the continental shelf and open waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Nationally, populations of white-beaked dolphins can regularly be found in Lyme Bay and off the coast of the Farnes.


When to find it

  • January

How can people help

White-beaked dolphins and other marine mammals are under threat from pollution in our seas and are often caught in fishing nets. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
White-beaked Dolphin
Latin name
Lagenorhynchus albirostris
Seals, turtles and other marine mammals
Length: 2.4-3.2m long (Adults) Weight: 180-350kg (Adults) Lifespan: 37 years
Conservation status
Considered to be of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of species, protected in the EU under Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive and Listed under Annex II of CITES. In the UK they are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.