Echolocation clicks of free-ranging Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris)

W M X Zimmer, M P Johnson, P T Madsen, P L Tyack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Citations (Scopus)


Strandings of beaked whales of the genera Ziphius and Mesoplodon have been reported to occur in conjunction with naval sonar use. Detection of the sounds from these elusive whales could reduce the risk of exposure, but descriptions of their vocalizations are at best incomplete. This paper reports quantitative characteristics of clicks from deep-diving Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) using a unique data set. Two whales in the Ligurian Sea were simultaneously tagged with sound and orientation recording tags, and the dive tracks were reconstructed allowing for derivation of the range and relative aspect between the clicking whales. At depth, the whales produced trains of regular echolocation clicks with mean interclick intervals of 0.43 s (+/- 0.09) and 0.40 s (+/- 0.07). The clicks are frequency modulated pulses with durations of similar to 200 mu s and center frequencies around 42 kHz, - 10 dB bandwidths of 22 kHz, and Q(3) (dB) of 4. The sound beam is narrow with an estimated directionality index of more than 2 25 dB, source levels up to 214 dB(pp) re: 1 mu Pa at 1 m, and energy flux density of 164 dB re: 1 mu Pa-2 s. As the spectral and temporal properties are different from those of nonziphiid odontocetes the potential for passive detection is enhanced. (c) 2005 Acoustical Society of America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3919-3927
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


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