Meet our Humpback Whales

Did you know, whales only follow one migration path their entire lives?! That means, each year we get to say "G'day" to some old friends, easily identified by their unique markings and colours. We chatted to Captain Kerry Lopez from Brisbane Whale Watching about the many whales she can identify by sight - all due to their unique markings. Meet Billy, Stiches, Migaloo & MJ.


Like the bottom of a much loved swag man's cooking pot, "Billy" is unique from other humpback whales that migrate along the Australian Eastern coast, sporting a black underbelly rather than white.

No one seems to know why Billy has such unusual colouring; it's a bit of a mystery! But this doesn't seem to stop Billy from having a great time out in the water. He's very acrobatic, loves breaching, tail slapping and generally likes putting on a show for anyone on a whale watching tour.

Billy was named by our very own Captain Kerry and, as yet, there are no reports of offspring.


As the name suggests, Stitches has markings all the way up the middle of his fluke that looks like he has been stitched up. But, guess what? They are natural markings!

Scientists are still trying to figure out so many things about humpback whales, like 'why do whales breach?', that we are a long way off understanding how they come to have unique natural markings. So, whilst there are whales that can be identified due to scares from marine accidents, there are a handful out there that are just naturally unique.

Stitches was named by the Captain Kerry's Crew on Eye Spy.

Migaloo & MJ

Migaloo and son MJ, or Migaloo Junior, are the only documented albino humpback whales in the world.

Migaloo, meaning ‘white fella’, was first sighted back in June 1991 and was believed to be 3 to 5 years old at the time. In October 2004, researchers from the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre collected skin samples from the water after he had breached and were able to have theses analysed for DNA. This analysis was able to confirm that Migaloo is in fact a male.

In 2006, a white calf was also spotted with a normal humpback mother, sparking excitement that it was one of Migaloo’s offspring, known as "MJ" or Migaloo Junior.

Looking for more information on this super star of the deep? Keep reading...

Here's some other Humpback Whale Facts:

The Singing Humpback Whales

Magical Humpback Whale Rainbows

Big, Beautiful, Baby Humpback Whales

5 Fun Facts about Humpback Whales

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Looking for more things to do and see? Pop into one of the region's Accredited Visitor Information Centres. The volunteers have a wealth of local knowledge.

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Acknowledgement of Country - We would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands and waterways of the Moreton Bay Region, the Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi, Jinibara, and Turrbal people and pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise the ongoing connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to this land and recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original custodians of this land.