What's on the move

Killer whale

Orcinus orca

(Image credit: David Donnelly )

The killer whale is the largest of all dolphins. It has a robust black body with a distinct white patch behind the eye that will vary in shape depending on the type of killer whale. There is a grey saddle located behind the dorsal fin which is also variable in shape. The underside is white along the length of the body and extends to the flank in a lobe at two thirds the way along. They have blunt nose (rostrum), large round flippers and broad flukes. The dorsal fin differs in the sexes, with males having a large tall triangular dorsal fin up to 1.8 m tall and females having a smaller curved dorsal fin. The blow is medium sized and bushy.

Length: Up to 8 m


Coastal and offshore; 0-100 m depth

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Log it if spotted anywhere in Australia.

Related links/info

Species names on the Redmap site are based on the Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota or CAAB (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/caab/). This is updated regularly and lists the approved common name, family, species name and more.

Species descriptions were provided by David Donnelly.

Related links:

Morrice M. G., Killer whales in Australian Territorial Waters. Report for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society 2004

Jefferson, T.A., Webber, M.A. & Pitman, R.L. 2015. Marine mammals of the world Second edition : a comprehensive guide to their identification. Academic Press, London.


Number of sightings 2

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