Physical Description & Colour Common dolphins are most closely related to Porpoises and Whales but can easily be identified by their bright, colour-contrasting patterns. The sides are light grey in colour behind the dorsal fin, and a yellowish-tan colour in front of the dorsal fin, which creates their distinct hourglass pattern. The back is dark grey-to-black in colour, stretching from the top of the head to the tail, and dipping to a V on the sides below the dorsal fin. The belly is white in colour. Common Dolphins have slender but solid bodies, with a long beak and a pointed triangular-shaped dorsal fin located in the middle of the back.
Diet Common dolphins are active predators and their diet mainly consists of squid and small schooling fish, such as anchovies, sardines and pilchards. Small groups of common dolphins may work together to heard schools of prey, and they are often associated with diving birds and feeding whales.
Social Characteristics Common dolphins are usually found in large social groups of between 100 and 500 animals, but have occasionally been seen in larger groups of thousands of individuals. They are fast swimmers and are often seen breaching and porpoising out of the water. They will also often approach ships to “bow-ride” for long periods of time.
Dolphins have recently been responsible for the arrival of Orca’s in False Bay, and in the Summer months recently pods of about 5 – 8 Orca’s have been following dolphins into the bay to hunt them, this is a very difficult situation to predict but causes great excitement amongst all of us here to see such a phenomenon.