Drones are certainly helping scientists across the globe take their field research to new heights – and we certainly aren't tiring of watching the resulting footage. 

This stunning aerial view of the rarely seen Bryde's whale was captured by a team from the Auckland University of Technology. The female and her calf were seen swimming off the coast of New Zealand, where they spent the day feeding on krill, plankton and small fish. 

Research supervisor Dr Barbara Bollard Breen told Radio New Zealand that deploying a drone to get a look at the whales created less disturbance than approaching by boat. That said, it's important to note that the footage was captured from some 40 metres away, so the whales' comfort was top of mind for the researchers, even when using these small crafts. 

It's thought that around 200 Bryde's whales inhabit New Zealand waters, with just 50 staying year-round. This is one of the few known resident populations of these mysterious animals in the world. 

"Bryde's whales are critically threatened in New Zealand, so it's thrilling to see them in the wild, and to be able to record them feeding from above is very special," Bollard Breen told the New Zealand Herald. In fact, this may be the first such footage ever recorded. 

Pronounced “broo-dess”, the Bryde’s whale is named after Johan Bryde, who helped construct the first South African whaling factory in the early 1900s. These animals are some of the livelier filter-feeding whales, known to breach clear of the water.

There is still a lot to learn about these animals, which are currently listed as "data deficient" by the IUCN. Their migration patterns are partially mapped, but just how many cruise the world's oceans remains a mystery – there may be as many as 100,000. It's thought that calving season occurs every autumn, but adult females breed only every second year, with a gestation of 11-12 months.

The hope is that drone footage like this will help researchers better understand just how these animals use their habitat and how many move through the area.