What Makes Humpback Whales Sing

What Makes Humpback Whales Sing

Ever wonder what makes humpback whales sing? Researchers around the worlds have been asking this same question and looking for answers!

Let’s talk about what we do know about humpback whale songs!

Whale songs are only sung by bulls (male humpback whales). Although cows (female humpback whales) can make sounds, only the bulls produce the famous songs that we hear. This melody is the same song they all sing around the world, but it changes every year! Scientists are still searching for answers to why the song changes and what it means.

Best Time of Day to Whale Watch in Hawaii

Whales have vocal cords like us!

What makes them special is their ability to move air across their larynx, without losing oxygen underwater (remember humpback whales are mammals, not fish so they need oxygen from above the surface to breathe). In humpback whales, the male’s larynx is much larger than the female’s, it is made this way to produce their loud vocal songs.

How can you hear humpback whale songs while in Hawaii? If the songs are loud enough you can hear them while you are snorkeling underwater! Often whale watching tours, like us at Ultimate Whale Watch, provide a hydrophone, which is a microphone designed to go underwater and pick up the humpback whales song, sending it to the speaker located on the boat.

There is so much more to learn about whales songs, like why they sing and how the song changes every year. Best way to support research is to whale watch with companies that participate in this important work. Your ticket helps companies like us at Ultimate provide vessels, crew and monetary support to research groups like UH, Cascadia, Whale Trust, Keiki Kohola and many more!

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