During the late spring 2017 I took a cruise through the Atlantic from Ushuaia, Argentina to Cape Verde via many of the South Atlantic Islands. It was a great trip for cetaceans with twenty one species recorded, highlights being shepherd’s and strap toothed beaked whales, Southern rightwhale dolphin and a group of at least six blue whales.
As we left Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cuhna group we had three shepherd’s beaked whales Tasmacetus shepherdi close off the starboard side of the ship. There have only been a handful of verified live sighting of this Ziphid, with a further record in the Kaikoura Canyon, New Zealand during summer 2018.
Seen well Shepherd’s is among the most distinctive beaked whales, with a longish dark beak, pale melon and distinctive pale horizontal patch extending onto the flanks above the flippers.