New Zealand Dolphins

There are nine different species of dolphin found around New Zealand's coast

  • Common dolphin >>

Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus)

Bottlenose dolphins are larger than common dolphins, with a relatively short beak and a hooked, prominent dorsal fin. They have dark or light grey backs, with paler underbellies. They live in pods of up to 60. There are estimated to be around 500 bottlenose dolphins in the Bay of Islands area.

When feeding close to the shore, bottlenose dolphins feed mainly on bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrates. Their dives rarely last longer than 3-4 minutes inshore, but may be longer offshore.

Female bottlenose dolphins can live up to more than 50 years of age, while males can live as long as 40-45 years.

Also known as: Tursiops Truncatus
Size: 1.9–3.9m; 250–650kg


Common Dolphin (Delphinus Delphis)

Common dolphins can be recognised by their tall dorsal fin and pale side patches. They form large schools, sometimes including up to several thousand individuals. They sometimes spend time with schools of pilot whales and other dolphin species. Common dolphins are abundant in the Bay of Islands but precise population estimates are largely unknown.

Common dolphins feed on a variety of prey including surface schooling fish, small mid-water fish and squid, often hunting together in schools. They can dive to depths of up to 280 metres in search of prey. Dives can last up to 8 minutes but are usually between 10 seconds and 2 minutes.

Also known as: Delphinus Delphis
Size: 1.7–2.4m; 70–110 kg