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First stranding report of a Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) in the Moray Firth in north-east Scotland

  • Kevin P. Robinson (a1) and Colin D. MacLeod (a2)


On 25 March 2008, a stranded Cuvier's beaked whale was discovered on the southern coast of the Moray Firth in north-east Scotland. Whilst strandings of the species are not uncommon in Scotland, the vast majority occur along the Atlantic coasts to the west of Scotland and Ireland. By comparison, records from the North Sea coast are notably absent, and this event is believed to be the first documented stranding of a Ziphius cavirostris from this mainland coastal region until now. Due to the severe state of decomposition of the specimen, no necropsy was made and therefore the cause of death could not be determined. However, this event may have been linked to a number of other beaked whale strandings in Scotland at this time. Whilst the North Sea region is considered to be an entrapment area for several species of oceanic whale, the Cuvier's beaked whale is rarely thought to travel far enough north to enter this trap. However, the phenology of these and other recent Cuvier's beaked whale strandings would suggest a possible northern range expansion for this species in UK waters, which may explain the increasing number of incidental events now being observed.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Kevin P. Robinson, Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU), PO Box 11307, Banff, AB45 3WB, Scotland, UK email:


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First stranding report of a Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) in the Moray Firth in north-east Scotland

  • Kevin P. Robinson (a1) and Colin D. MacLeod (a2)


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