Tail sailing

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"Sailing" by a southern right whale.

Tail sailing refers to the action of whales lifting their tails clear of the water for long periods of time.[1] The process is rarely observed by humans, and the precise motivation for this phenomenon is unknown.[2] It is thought that whales either undertake this activity to catch the wind and 'sail' through the water, or as a method to cool down. A third theory suggests that the whale is feeding close to the sea floor.

Scientists believe that tail-sailing is fairly common amongst certain species, such as the Southern right whale.[3]


  1. ^ "Sailing Tail". Whale Coast Route. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  2. ^ "Rare footage released of humpback whale hanging tail in air near Hawaii". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-03-11.
  3. ^ Staff, AOL. "Humpback whale 'tail-sails' as she watches her calf off the Maui coast". AOL.com. Retrieved 2016-03-11.