Killer Whale Sounds Killer Whale Sounds

(researcher with hydrophone)

One way we have found out so much about the family relationships of killer whales is by listening to the sounds they make. They communicate with one another through a wide variety of whistles, squeaks and whines. Researchers have discovered that in resident pods, each whale has the same set of calls, or "dialect", as every other pod member. These language groups, or "clans" are made up of pods with similar dialects. Unlike resident killer whales, transients use few specific communication calls and tend to be silent when foraging for food. All transient killer whales along the Pacific Northwest coast appear to share the same set of calls, or "dialect".

Below you'll find some of the calls made by A1 pod of the northern resident community, as well as a short section of a resident superpod of 60 animals, and a recording of transients vocalizing.

Your adoption package will include a copy of Blackfish Sound, a tape of killer whale recordings narrated by killer whale researcher Dr. John Ford.

Note: you will require a sound application capable of reading files in AIFF format to listen to the killer whale calls. If you don't have such software, click the following to: Please be sure to pay the registration fee if you decide to keep the software!
Click on the spectrograms to hear the calls:

N4 Call

N7 Call

N8 Call

N9 Call

N13 Call

a resident superpod (207k)

transient killer whales (221k)

Return to the home page

N4 call, N7 call, N8 call, N9 call and N13 call © Coastal Ecosystems Research Foundation 1994, superpod and transient recordings © BC Killer Whale Adoption Program 1996.
Please do no reproduce without prior written consent.