Length: 0.8-0.85m/2.6-2.8ft (newborn); 1.6-2.6m/5.3-8.6ft (adult)
Head and Beak: The common dolphin has a low, tapering forehead with distinct groove separating long slender black beak, sometimes tipped white.
Fin and Markings: Centrally placed slender dorsal fin, sickle-shaped or erect. Common dolphins have a characteristic hourglass pattern of tan or yellowish-tan on lower flanks, becoming pale grey behind fin.
ID: Usually animated; the common dolphin often breaches and bow-rides. Hourglass pattern of tan and grey on flanks; long slender beak.
Status and Distribution: Common on Atlantic seaboard of Europe from Scotland south to the Iberian Peninsular, in the Western Channel and Irish Sea. Uncommon in the Mediterranean Sea and rare in the North Sea. Common dolphins are recorded in all months of the year, but in coastal UK water mainly July to October.