Humpback Whale Tail: Dimensions, Strength, Size, Uses, And Facts


Humpback Whale Tail: Dimensions, Strength, Size, Uses, And Facts

Like other whales, humpback whales also possess a tail that helps them propel themselves in the water. However, there are many things about a humpback tail that are worth deciphering.

Humpback whales are baleen whales that have a flat or horizontal whale. They could move their tail up and down to move underwater. We also know these whales for being one of the most acrobatic whales, and it is their tail that helps them breach the water.

Humpback Whale Tail
Image Credit: Humpback Whale Tail from Pxhere

The size, dimension, strength, and other factors associated with a humpback whale tail are different from other whale species. So, this post has been dedicated to shedding light specifically on the tail of this whale species. 

Hence, let’s delve deep to unfurl the facts. 

Humpback whale tail identification

Have you ever seen a humpback whale tail? If you have, how did you identify it? Let’s explore the identification marks of a humpback tail.

To identify a humpback tail, experts frequently use photo identification. The flukes of each humpback whale have black and white patterns called fluke prints. These patterns, like human fingerprints, are unique to each whale. The marks on both the tail lobes are documented, and whales are assigned a letter as part of the identification process.

Whales with less than 20% white on their flukes are labeled as X, while those with 20-60% white are labeled as Y. On the other hand, those with over 60% white patterns in their flukes are labeled as Z.

However, photo identification cannot be used to identify a humpback whale by anyone who is not an expert. Marine scientists mostly use this method. As a layperson, we can enjoy the sight of a massive humpback whale breaching the ocean. 

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What is the other name of the humpback tail underside?

The tail of every humpback whale plays a crucial role in helping them swim and revealing their identities. So what does the underside of their tail call?

The underside of the tail of a humpback whale is called the flukes. This part is used for photo identification among baleen whales. 

How big is a humpback whale’s tail?

Humpback whales may not be the largest whales on earth, but their size is also humongous. They can grow up to 60 feet long and weigh over 40 tons.

The tail flukes of a humpback whale with patterns and ridges can grow as wide as 18 feet. 

The function of the humpback whale’s tail?

There is a specific reason every humpback whale has a tail. And it is interesting to explore its function(s).

One of the main purposes of a humpback tail is to enable the creature to swim underwater. In addition, this tail moves up and down, which helps these whales to control their directions underwater. Other than this, the fluke prints underneath the tail flukes help experts to identify and label each humpback whale. 

Humpback whale tail slapping behavior

Image Credit: Humpback whale jumping backward from Rawpixel

One of the strangest behaviors among humpback whales is their tail slapping. But, this is the way of their communication. 

Every whale watcher dreams of seeing humpback whales slapping their tail flukes. And it’s an action that these whales engage in to communicate with other whales. For them, it’s like long-distance communication. It’s mostly used in their breeding rituals. Whale tail slapping is also used to frighten predators away.

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Lobtailing is another name for tail slapping. When whales raise their tail flukes out of the water and slam into the ocean’s surface with substantial force, they appear to be smacking the ocean’s surface. It makes a tremendous splash of water and a “wham” sound. Whales do, however, occasionally lobtail to remove parasites from their skin.

This act produced such a high sound that it could be heard from a long distance and even beneath the water’s surface. 


Humpback tails are one of the most vocal and cosmopolitan whale species. They are huge, and their tail says a lot about them. We hope our approach toward analyzing humpback tails and associate facts has grabbed your attention. If you have enjoyed this piece, share it with your loved ones.

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