Where Do Orcas Live?
Killer whales have a very extensive habitat. They
are found it warm, temperate, cold waters and are also found near
shore or off shore. They have even been documented in the Colombia
River! Higher numbers of Orcas are often recorded closer to shore
and in colder waters. Near shore is more productive and a good
place to catch prey.
The habitats for transient, resident, and offshore Orcas are
slightly different (as their names would imply). Resident Orcas
often over-winter somewhere, but they return to the same spot every
year during the summer. Transient Orcas move more randomly across a
greater area. Not much is known about the offshore Orcas, except
that their pods are usually found far out in the water.
Because they have such a large variety of habitats,
it is very hard to study the migration patterns of the Orcas.
Scientists still do not have a very good understanding of where they
over-winter. It is recognized, though, that they often migrate to
where their prey migrates. The areas where Orcas are studied most
extensively are off the coasts of Iceland, Norway, southern
Argentina, the Crozet Archipelago, New Zealand, west coast of
Canada, and the west of the United States.
The blue indicates the areas around
the world where Orcas can be found.