Orca Whale Watching/Killer Whale Vancouver

The iconic black and white Vancouver orca is one of the most popular and sought after sightings on a Vancouver whale watching tour. Although we can never guarantee with 100% certainty that orcas will be the whale species we see on any given day, they are the species we encounter most often.

The best orca watching Vancouver has to offer can really be any time of the year! We are lucky enough to encounter 2 types of orca whales in Vancouver and area; the transient (Bigg’s) type orca, and the Southern Resident orca. Both appear very similar but vary drastically in behaviour. The transient prey on mammals such as seals, porpoises and sea lions (sometimes even other whales), while travelling in smaller, usually related pods of 3-7 individuals. They travel along the coast and can be spotted anytime of the year. The Resident orca target fish, mostly Chinook salmon and their visits to our range and predominantly in the summer months when the salmon make their way towards the rivers to spawn. Vancouver orca can always surprise us though and either type has been sighted in all months of our season! Check out our Vancouver Orca whale adventures.

What’s in a name? Orca or Killer Whale?

We often hear the name killer whale when referring to orcas. They are not 2 separate species but one and the same. It is thought that they earned this title many years ago when they were referred to as “whale killers” from observers who saw them (likely transient type) attacking other whales and over time the name became “killer whale”. Now that they are much better understood, and various orca types have been identified around the world. They are excellent hunters whether they are residents or transients, and the name when used today interchangeably with orca, does not have the negative association it one held. Whether you call them orcas or killers whales Vancouver is a great place to try and spot them!

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