Video captures humpback whale ‘headstand’ up close

(KHON) — New video released by NOAA shows a humpback whale with her tail out of the water, seemingly performing a “headstand” as she drifts along with her calf swimming around her.

According to scientists, tail-sailing is fairly common among southern right whales, but has rarely been observed or documented among humpbacks.

“We’re not entirely sure why the whales do this,” said Ed Lyman, resource protection specialist for Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “But we think this could be another way for them to rest, nurse, or just try to stay cool. More observations will be needed to confirm this theory.”

The video was captured last month by a team of whale scientists and marine mammal response managers off Maui’s leeward coast.

They used an unmanned aircraft operated by trained professionals under approved NOAA and FAA permits.

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