In Kaikōura, the common dolphins are not as common as the name suggests. They mainly come to visit our coastline in the summer months. During winter they can be found further north in Aotearoa/New Zealand but when the waters starts to warm up they expand their feeding grounds and make their way down here to Kaikōura. They can be found in the north island such as the Hauraki Gulf all year around.
They are a widely distributed dolphin around the world and are generally divided into two groups, the long-beaked common dolphin and the one we encounter here, the short-beaked common dolphin.
When we encounter common dolphins in Kaikōura, they usually travel together with the dusky dolphins. We can see larger pods of only common dolphins at times but it is rarer to see. They are known to travel in super pods where hundreds of dolphins travel together!
They can often be seen travelling alongside the dusky dolphins and they are known to be quite promiscuous. Fun fact: The two different species can interbreed and create a dusky/common dolphin hybrid. The offspring will not be fertile and can therefore not create a new species.