Rather than ferocious killers, orcas are gentle and inquisitive, at least when it comes to human encounters. Hundreds of orcas and humpback whales gathers in the Tromsø region in the period of November to January, to feed on the overwintering herring.
The killer whale or orca (Orcinus orca) is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. It is recognizable by its black-and-white patterned body. A cosmopolitan species, killer whales can be found in all of the world’s oceans in a variety of marine environments, from Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas; they are absent only from the Baltic and Black seas, and some areas of the Arctic Ocean.
Killer whales have a diverse diet, although individual populations often specialize in particular types of prey. Some feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as seals and other species of dolphin. They have been known to attack baleen whale calves and even adult whales. Killer whales are apex predators, as they have no natural predators. They are highly social; some populations are composed of very stable matrilineal family groups (pods) which are the most stable of any animal species. Their sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviors, which are often specific to a particular group and passed across generations, have been described as manifestations of animal culture.