Kiwi bottlenose dolphins have accents depending on where they live

A new study has found bottlenose dolphins have accents of their own, depending on where they live in Aotearoa.   

When researchers compared the whistling patterns of dolphins in Great Barrier Island with dolphins from Fiordland, they found variations in the style, duration, and pitch of their calls.

Jessica Patiño-Pérez is the lead author of the research.  

"It's like American English and Kiwi English, basically the same but some different words," she said.   

The difference could be down to the impact of tourism, she added.   

"The sound of motorboats, for example, can affect that communication."  

"Longer whistles are happening in Fiordland because they have to compete with the noise of the boat," Patiño-Pérez said.  

The signature whistles of bottlenose dolphins are crucial to their survival.  

Patiño-Pérez says dolphins rely on sound to find food, to hunt and for all their normal activities.   

"They don't use sight for example as their main sense."  

She adds there's still plenty more to be discovered about these dolphins' accents too.