The apex predator of the sea. The orca or killer whale is the largest member of the dolphin family and we typically get a few sightings of them per year usually in winter months, there are different types of orcas, the ones we usually see are known as transient type orcas which feed on mammals like whales, seals, and sea lions, specifically a pod known as CA-51 nicknamed the "LA Pod" for their frequent sightings when they venture down here, they are more commonly seen North around Monterey. We also occasionally get sightings of offshore type orcas which live mostly farther out in the ocean and travel in massive pods spread out over several miles, they specialize in eating sharks and rays. Even less common, we have gotten sightings of "ETP" (Eastern Tropical Pacific) orcas which not much info is known about them but thought that they are typically South and feed mostly on fish, they are very shy and avoid boats, unlike CA-51 who are very boat friendly.
Transient type orcas also known as Biggs Killer Whales named after Dr. Michael Bigg who discovered that there are different types of killer whales before his passing. These types of orcas are who we usually see off the coast of Orange County when they do come around.
Their diet consists of seals, sea lions, dolphins, and whales (preferably migrating gray whale calves). This specific type of orca is known to be less vocal as they don't want to be detected by their prey of other cetaceans.
Eastern Tropical Pacific type orcas also known as "ETP's" do show up occasionally off our coast is small numbers from 3-6 and have been spotted multiple times within a mile or two from Orange County's coast. This type of killer whale is so rarely seen that not much is even known about their diet or their entire range but is thought to usually be farther out to sea off the coast of Mexico. They are sometimes boat shy and will evade boats if they feel pressured.
Offshore type orcas are typically found farther from coastlines which is how they get their offshore name. They are not as studied as much as other types of killer whales like the Southern Resident type found off Washington which prey on salmon. The offshore types feed mostly on sharks, preferably pacific sleeper sharks, they have also been documented feeding on manta rays and opah.
While it is rare to see orcas near Southern California yet alone the offshore type, when they do show up, they'll be in large pods of about 40-80 which is how they travel in sub-groups of about 3-8 and their whole pod being spread out over several miles.