Short-beaked Common Dolphin - Oceana

Marine Mammals

Short-beaked Common Dolphin

Delphinus delphis


Worldwide in tropical to cool temperate latitudes


Open ocean (pelagic)

Feeding Habits

Active predator


Suborder Odontoceti (toothed whales), Family Delphinidae (dolphins)


Short-beaked common dolphins feed on schooling fishes and squids in the open ocean and may follow some fishes as they migrate along currents or oceanic “fronts.” Like their prey, short-beaked common dolphins form large groups (typically composed of hundreds of individuals) for hunting and socializing, and at times, hundreds of these groups come together to form “super pods” of as many as 10,000 animals. During both normal grouping and super grouping, short-beaked common dolphins are known for being quite playful and put on impressive aerial displays, breaching and tail walking regularly. They are also one of the species known for swimming along with boats and particularly for riding the wave formed at a boat’s bow.

Short-beaked common dolphins are one of the most common dolphins in the global ocean, and conservation scientists consider them a species of least concern. In other words, they currently face zero threat of extinction. However, as more and more fishing nets are dragged across the ocean’s surface, it is important to continue to observe short-beaked common dolphin populations, along with other open ocean species, to be sure that they remain stable.

Engage Youth with Sailors for the Sea

Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids.

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans

Additional Resources:

IUCN Red List

NOAA Fisheries