Rare white harbour porpoise spotted off Cornwall

The white harbour porpoise Credit: Henry Kirkwood/Sea Watch Foundation

A very rare white harbour porpoise has been spotted off the coast of North Cornwall near Morwenstow.

It's only the fifth ever recorded in UK waters.

Harbour porpoises are usually a uniform brown to grey colour with lighter underparts.

This is what harbour porpoises usually look like.

The normal colour of a harbour porpoise Credit: Mick Baines/Sea Watch Foundation
Another view showing dark colouration around its blowhole Credit: Henry Kirkwood/Sea Watch Foundation

Henry Kirkwood and his father Rupert were taking part in Sea Watch Foundation's national sightings scheme by reporting their sightings of whales, dolphins and of course, porpoises.

The organisation uses this information to build a picture of the marine life around the UK.

Using information from members of the public in this way, Sea Watch are able to report on their status and distribution and to advise on governmental policies for the protection of the species.

To learn more go to:

www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/become-a- sea-watch-observer

An unusually close-up view of a typically coloured harbour porpoise Credit: Mick Baines/ Sea Watch Foundation
  • Length 1.3-1.5 metres

  • Small round head with no distinct beak

  • Small triangular, broad-based dorsal fin

  • Diet of fish, cephalopods and crustaceans