Also called the Giant Bottlenose Whale, the Baird’s Beaked Whale (Berardius bairdii) is the largest of all the beaked whales reaching up to 40 feet (13 m) and 26,000 pounds (12,000 kg).
There are 22 species in the Family Ziphiidae (beaked whales) and they are all so similar in appearance that even experienced researchers have difficulty telling species of them apart even when they’re dead. Adding to the difficulty are the shared behavioral traits of beaked whales that help maintain their anonymity: they maintain a low profile above the surface, avoiding breaching or attention-getting techniques displayed by other whales. Instead, beaked whales will typically make little noise or show when breathing at the surface despite often being in pods of up to 20 individuals and occasionally in groups as large as 50. Beaked whales also feed in deep water, often in depths of 2,500-4,000 feet (800-1,200 m), further complicating research on the animals.