Identification at a glance
Bottlenose dolphins are between 2.4 m and 3.8 m long and 260 kg to 500 kg in weight.
- A short stubby beak
- Large hooked or ‘falcate’ dorsal fin
- Dark grey back and sides, pale belly
- Robust head and body shape
- Pale lower jaw/ dark upper jaw (compare with: white beaked dolphin)
- Eye within dark background colour (compare with: Common dolphin)
- Dark flippers
Common bottlenose dolphins have a wide distribution and can be found in coastal and continental shelf waters in tropical and temperate zones.
Found in most enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, for example the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, they also frequent river mouths, lagoons and shallow bays.
Diet includes fish (including sciaenids, scombrids and mugilids), squid, shrimp and other crustaceans.
They can live up to 50 years old / The bottlenose dolphins found in UK waters are bigger than those found anywhere else in the world.
Estimated population: 600,000
IUCN Listing: Least Concern
*Black Sea common bottlenose dolphin is Endangered
Although the common bottlenose dolphin is classified by IUCN as of Least Concern worldwide, many inshore bottlenose dolphins exist in small, relatively isolated populations. These groups may be more vulnerable to human activities. There is only one resident population remaining in the North Sea.