Inca Tern

About the Inca Tern
Inca Tern

The Inca Tern, a visually captivating species of tern, graces the coastal regions of Peru and Chile with its unique and distinguished appearance. This bird is most notably recognized for its extraordinary white mustachial feathers that elegantly extend from either side of its beak, a feature that makes it one of the most distinctive terns in the world.

Both males and females share this striking plumage, showcasing shades of grey with dark wingtips, and a bright red-orange beak and feet, adding to their charismatic presence.

Inca Terns are known for their breeding habits along the rugged rocky coastal cliffs, where they often nest in ground depressions or utilize burrows, sometimes those previously occupied by Humboldt Penguins. Their choice of nesting sites reflects their adaptability and resourcefulness.

Despite their flexibility in nesting locations, they face challenges due to the loss of suitable habitats. Disturbances from guano harvesting and the impacts of commercial fishing, which reduce their primary food source of fish, are significant threats contributing to their decline.

The Inca Tern not only adds to the rich biodiversity of the coastal ecosystems of South America but also serves as an indicator of the health of these environments. Its conservation is crucial, highlighting the need for sustainable practices to protect these birds and their habitats.

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Details & Statistics

International Names

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The Inca Tern's fishy lifestyle

Today we have added the Inca Tern to Birdorable. Inca Terns have a mostly dark grey plumage, with the tail being darker. The wings are tipped in white. Males and females look alike. Adult birds can easily be recognized by their long white mustachial feather plumes. Mustaches...  Read more »