Humpback Whale Sounds

The humpback whale is one of the most common whale species in Iceland and many have heard of the famous “song of the humpback whale”. Below are three different sound examples recorded in Skjálfandi Bay.

Possible mating calls

These calls are produced by a humpback whale and were recorded during mid-winter in Skjálfandi bay. These sound types are most likely mating calls since they are being produced when the reproduction hormones rise in the humpback whales. Many humpback whales that spend the summer in Iceland spend the winter on their breeding grounds in the West Indies. Interestingly, these recordings imply that some humpback whales try to breed in the cold temperate waters of Iceland during the winter.


Humpback whale sound


Humpback whale feeding or social call

This sound type is from a humpback whale and has mostly been heard during the summer when they are feeding. On few occasions this sound has been recorded during the winter in Iceland. They are believed to serve as communication signals between humpback whales when feeding.


Feeding grunt


The “eeee” sound

This war-like sound is from a humpback whale and was recorded during the summer in Skjálfandi Bay. This sound type has been named the “eeee” sound and is linked to feeding, but the sound is for example produced when the whales are coming up to the surface after feeding. This sound has only been heard during the feeding season in Skjálfandi bay.


Feeding eee