Marine Biology

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 97–114 | Cite as

The song of the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae in the West Indies

  • H. E. Winn
  • L. K. Winn


Songs of the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae were recorded and analyzed from Grand Turks in the Bahamas to Venezuela. The design features of the song are as follows. The basic song evolves through a series of different sounds in a fixed order. The song is produced only in the winter tropical calving grounds, just before the whales arrive on the banks. Redundancy is high in that syllables, motifs, phrases and the entire song are repeated. Low, intermediate, and high-frequency sounds are scattered throughout the song. One sound is associated with blowing. The song appears to be partially different each year and there are some differences within a year between banks which may indicate that dialects are present. It is suggested that songs from other populations are quite different. The apparent yearly changes do not occur at one point in time. Only single individuals produce the song and they are hypothesized to be young, sexually mature males. The implications of these various design features are discussed.


Design Feature Single Individual Mature Male Venezuela Yearly Change 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. E. Winn
    • 1
  • L. K. Winn
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of OceanographyUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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