Wildlife

Whale facts

  • The sperm whale is the most common species in Andøy and can be seen both summer and winter. There are only male sperm whales here, females live in lower latitudes.
     
  • The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales in the world and males can reach a size of ca. 18 meters and ca. 45 metric tons.
     
  • Orcas, Humpback whales and Fin whales follow large shoals of spring spawning herring that migrates to our waters in winter. The best time to experience these whale species is from the end of November to late January.

WHALES

Andøy has earned the name “Whale Kingdom of the North” because it is the prime location for Arctic whale watching. We have a geographical advantage that brings us closer to the whales all year round. Andøy is located nearer to the edge of the continental shelf and the sea abyss than any other place in Norway. A short distance from land lies a steep and narrow deep-sea canyon that affects the coastal currents along the shore and pushes cold nutrient-rich water from the abyss towards the surface – a phenomenon called upwelling.  The result is a highly productive sea close to land that supports large fisheries and a high abundance of marine wildlife. 

 

Whale research

  • Whale research has always been an important part of the whale watching industry in Andøy. The privileged location of Andøy has enabled whale researchers to get closer to male sperm whales than any other place in the world to unravel some of the biggest unanswered questions about the biology of the males.

  • Whale researchers use photo-ID techniques for studying Sperm whales. The characteristics of the tails help researchers to tell apart different individuals. Some of the Sperm whale males have been seen year after year and are given names. For example, on male was photographed for the first time in 1994 and this whale is still around – we call him “Glenn”.   

IMPRESSIVE WILDLIFE

The birdlife along the coast of Andøy is stunning. Bleik Island is a bustling bird sanctuary and in the summertime home to one of the largest puffin colonies in Norway! Several other seabird species also nest on the island, for example kittiwakes, shags, cormorants, common guillemots, razorbills, and Arctic skua.  The archipelago on the west coast is also a perfect nesting area for the largest of the seabirds, the gannet. Daily safari trips offer you the chance to get up close to these birds, you are also guaranteed to see white-tailed eagles on these tours.

Andøy is also home to a large harbor seal population and otters. Both species can be spotted from our harbors, while travelling along the coast or on one of the safari trips at sea. A more occasional visitor is the grey seal. If you get lucky you might get a glimpse of a European elk lurking in the bushes. The best time to spot these animals are at dawn or dusk. Andøy is often also granted with the visit of the bird species that performs the longest migration in the world- the Arctic tern. One of the most special sightings you might experience is the plankton feeding basking shark that can grow to an impressive size of 12 meters!