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1. There are several recognised species of common dolphin around the world. The ones in New Zealand are the short-beaked form and are therefore known as the short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis).
2. They are called common dolphins as they have been sighted in every ocean and most seas (except polar regions). However, it does not mean they are common everywhere, in fact in some areas of the world they are considered to be an endangered!
3. However, the first ever abundance estimate in the Hauraki Gulf was completed in 2016 and it was found that over 10,000 common dolphins had been using Auckland's waters over the four year study - that's alot of dolphins!!
4. Normally an oceanic species found in deep water, the common dolphins are resident to the Hauraki Gulf year round as there is plenty of food available.
5. Dolphins are apex predators and common dolphins are often seen hunting and feeding in large groups. There are often a variety of seabird species and sometimes whales feeding in the same place as these dolphins!
6. They are one of the only dolphins which are tricolour - grey, white and yellow in a distinctive hourglass pattern.
7. They are also quite a small species of dolphin, growing to around 2.5m and a maximum weight of 200kg.
8. Dolphins whistle to communicate with each other and you can often hear common dolphins whistling to each other when they are bow-riding at the front of a boat!
9. The common dolphin can be seen in groups of different sizes from small groups of 20-30 animals to groups joining together to form super- or megapods which can result in thousands of animals!
10. The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is a calving ground for the common dolphin meaning that babies can be seen year round. Calving peaks in the summer when many tiny babies can be seen swimming around!
To find out more, head to www.whalewatchingauckland.com
Written: 8 articles
Experience the diverse wildlife and stunning scenery of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Enjoy whale watching, dolphin encounters and an abundance of seabirds while learning from on-board experts and directly supporting our conservation efforts.
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