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New England Seabirds

 Wilson's Storm-petrel  Dave Jones

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Dolphins & Porpoise

White-sided Dolphin
Common Dolphin
Common Bottlenose Dolphin
Risso's Dolphin
Spotted Dolphin
Striped Dolphin
Harbor Porpoise


Dolphins & Porpoises

Common Bottlenose Dolphin

Tursiops truncatus

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Bottle-nose Dolphin Steve Mirick

Common Bottlenose Dolphin photographed by Steve Mirick on the 2001 BBC Hydrographers Canyon trip

Taxonomy of Bottlenose Dolphins  Family Delphinidae  Genus Tursiops
The genus  Tursiops contains  two species: Common Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops truncatus and the  Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin Tursiops aduncus. More recently a third species has been described Burrunan Dolphin Tursiops australis.

The only species in the New England area is the Common Bottlenose Dolphin.

 Common Bottlenose Dolphin
Two populations or ecotypes of Common Bottlenose Dolphins are recognized. The coastal population is well known by its representation as "Flipper" of television fame. They perform at dolphin shows and are exploited in "swim with" programs.

The US. Navy at one time was training dolphins to use in war and their research program added to the body of knowledge about these dolphins. This program has become controversial because people felt the animals were being endangered by being involved in war activities. If you take a boat tour around San Diego you can see the pens where this program was carried out. The dialog claims the program has been discontinued. Perhaps that is true.

New England pelagic birders are more likely to encounter the offshore Bottlenose Dolphin on continental shelf edge trips. The two populations are not separable in the field except by location where they are encountered.

Wikipedia has this to say about the two ecotypes:

The two ecotypes of the common bottlenose dolphin within the western North Atlantic are represented by the shallower water or coastal ecotype and the more offshore ecotype.Their ranges overlap, but they have been shown to be genetically distinct. They are not currently described, however, as separate species or subspecies. "

Commmon Bottlenose Dolphins are a combination of gray tones lighter on the underside and darker on the upper part of the body. They have a distinct medium-sized beak. Not all dolphins with a distinct beak are Common Bottlenose Dolphins

Common Bottlenose Dolphin Jeremiah Trimble

Behavior is well studied because the dolphins have been kept in captivity since 1930.

Female pods with young of both sexes are known along with pods composed of young males. Pods usually consist of up to 10 animals with offshore pods slightly larger. There is extensive cooperation among pod members.

They jump and ride bow waves.

Jeremiah Trimble photograph of offshore Bottle-nose Dolphin.

Inshore Common Bottlenose Dolphin Texas coast David Berg

This is an inshore Bottlenose Dolphin photographed in the Texas coastal waterway by David Berg on a Bill Drummond trip. to see the Whooping Cranes at Aransas NWR.

Passengers on the boat could distinctly hear the communication clicks between the dolphins.

Bottlenose Dolphin continental shelf  Jeremia Trimble

Jeremiah Trimble Common Bottlenose Dolphin taken on a BBC continental Shelf edge trip.

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Comments to webmaster

Folkens, Peter (2002) Guide to Marine Mammals of the World Alfred A. Knopf New York

Kinze, Carl Charistian (2001) Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic Princeton University Press Princeton NJ