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Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins vary in size, shape and colour worldwide. They usually have light or dark grey backs which fade to white on their underbellies. The northern part of the North Island has the largest population of Bottlenose dolphins in New Zealand ranging from Doubtless Bay to Tauranga.

They are found in temperate waters, usually a few kilometres from shore

Adults range in length between 2 and 4 metres. Calves range between 70 cm and 1 metre

A fully grown adult averages 250 kg but can weigh up to 650 kg

Live school fish and squid, preferring to hunt individually

Pod Size
From solitary individuals to pods of several hundred

Life Span
Estimated to be between 40 and 50 years

Sexual Maturity
Between 5 and 12 years

Approximately 12 months

Calves suckle for at least 18 months and up to 4 years
Things to know
The Common dolphins found in New Zealand are Short-beaked Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis). They can be distinguished by their shorter beaks and distinctive colour patterns.

It is the Bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) that most people visualise when they hear the word ‘dolphin’ as is the most well known and studied species.
Bottlenose Dolphin
Dolphin Blue