Southern Rights are seasonal filter feeders, using their finely meshed long narrow plates to catch their prey, usually copepods or krill. They have about 200-270 pairs of black baleen plates hanging from the jaws. These whales must consume vast quantities of plankton in the southern oceans - it is estimated that between 600 and 1 600 kg of food might be needed daily during the feeding period to meet the whale's year-round energy requirements. Right whales spend three times longer playing and bonding with their young than searching for food, some going through a full migratory season without feeding.
Whales in coastal waters produce a variety of low frequency sounds used for communication. Whale watchers can hear these moans, moos and growls from the cliffs of Walker Bay. Right whales may have a life expectancy of over 60 years, although this figure is not at all certain (very little is known about these whales).