The Bryde's Whale are baleen whales, the "great whales" or rorquals. They prefer tropical and temperate waters over the polar seas that other whales in their family frequent. They are largely coastal rather than pelagic. Bryde's whales are very similar in appearance to sei whales and almost as large.
The whales are named after Norwegian entrepreneur, Johan Bryde, who helped set up the first whaling station in Durban, South Africa in 1908.
They inhabit tropical and subtropical waters worldwide.
Bryde's whales are considered medium-sized for balaenopterids, dark gray in color with a white underbelly.
Bryde's Whales are moderately-sized rorquals, falling behind sei whales but being larger than the relatively small minke whales. Adults measure from 9 to 12 m (30 to 39 ft) in length, though the largest females can measure up to 15 m (49 ft). The body mass of Bryde's whales can range from 12 to 25 metric tons (13 to 28 short tons). Males are usually slightly smaller than females.
Their blow is columnar or bushy, about 10–13 feet (3.0–4.0 m) high. Sometimes they blow or exhale while under water. Bryde's whales display seemingly erratic behavior compared to other baleens, because they surface at irregular intervals and can change directions for unknown reasons.
They usually appear individually or in pairs, and occasionally in loose aggregations of up to twenty animals around feeding areas.
These whales opportunistically feed on plankton (e.g., krill and copepods), and crustaceans(e.g. pelagic red crabs, shrimp), as well as schooling fish (e.g., anchovy, herring, sardine, mackerel, and pilchard). Bryde's whales use several feeding methods, including skimming the surface, lunging, and bubble nets.
Bryde's whales prefer highly productive tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters of 61–72 °F (16–22 °C). Pygmies may prefer waters near the coast and continental shelf.