Despite their size, whales are remarkably graceful and can make even the most mundane action look like a beautifully choreographed water show. In a clip recently posted by Auckland University of Technology (and shared by Mashable), an approximately 39-foot-long adult Bryde's whale and a young calf are shown feasting on plankton off the coast of New Zealand. The footage was captured using a drone custom-built by AUT scientists and is believed to be the first of its kind ever shot.

The footage shows the whales swimming near the surface of the water before turning to open their mouths to feed. According to AUT, the species of whale is "critically threatened" in New Zealand, with fewer than 200 believed to be left in the region, which makes the aerial footage that much more valuable. This is far from the first time drones have helped scientists learn more about whales—they've even helped collect their snot.

[h/t Mashable]

Banner image credit: YouTube