Western Isles
 Western Isles of Scotland

Bottlenose Dolphin Sighting

Bottlenose Dolphin Sightings

Bottlenose Dolphin

Tursiops truncatus

Photograph © Debbie Bozkurt
Eriskay - Barra Ferry - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
5th October, 2006


Bottlenose dolphins travel our seas in groups of 2 to 20.

They are playful beings and often follow boats.

Similar dolphins and porpoises are: common dolphin, harbour porpoise and Atlantic white-sided dolphins.


The usual size of an adult bottlenose dolphin is between 2 and 4 metres in length.


Length comparison of adult dolphins and porpoises similar to the bottlenose dolphin
Harbour porpoise 1.35m to 1.8m 4.5 to 5.9 feet
Atlantic white-sided dolphins 2m to 2.8m
6 to 6.9 feet
Common dolphin 1.7m to 2.4m
6 to 8 feet
Bottlenose dolphin 2.2m to 4m
7.3 to 13.2 feet


Bottlenose dolphins have dark grey bodies which have pale flanks.
They are white underneath, which you may see when they jump the waves and leap from the sea, they do not have any distinctive markings.

A common dolphin does have distinctive markings, the dark parts above form a line along the body, shaped like a cupid's bow dividing upper and lower body.

The Atlantic white-sided dolphin has a more straight line dividing upper and lower body, and a white blaze across below the dorsal fin.


The dorsal fin of a bottlenose dolphin is quite large, and curved.

A bottlenose dolphin makes whistling and clicking sounds, they are talkative like most of the dolphins. (Porpoise sounds are inaudible to us.)




How to tell the difference: dolphin to a porpoise

An account of rescuing a stranded dolphin on a Lewis beach.


Debbie's online photo album

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