Inca Tern

About the Inca Tern

The Inca Tern is a striking species of tern that is found along coastal Peru and Chile. Adult birds are easily recognized by their long white mustachial feathers extending from either side of the beak. Males and females look alike.

Inca Terns breed along rocky coastal cliffs. They nest in depressions on the ground or in burrows, including nest sites previously used by Humboldt Penguins.

As of July 2013, the Inca Tern has a conservation status of Near Threatened. Although they are relatively flexible with regard to nesting locations, loss of suitable habitat is a major factor in the decline of the Inca Tern. Disturbance to habitat from guano harvesting is a possible issue. Commercial fishing may also contribute to a decrease in the population of this piscivorous species.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 13 August 2013
Scientific Name
Larosterna inca
  • Charadriiformes
  • Sternidae
  • Larosterna
  • L. inca
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Near Threatened (as of 5 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
15.7 to 16.5 inches
23.6 inches
7.8 ounces


From IUCN Red List:
The Inca Tern is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species is listed as Near Threatened because its population has apparently experienced a moderately rapid decline.

International Names

Chinese (汉语) 印加燕鸥
Czech (Cesky) rybák inka
Danish (Dansk) Inkaterne
Dutch (Nederlands) Incastern
Finnish (Suomi) inkatiira
French (Français) Sterne inca
German (Deutsch) Inkaseeschwalbe
Italian (Italiano) Sterna inca
Japanese (日本語) インカアジサシ [inkaajisashi]
Norwegian (Norsk) Inkaterne
Polish (Polski) rybitwa wasata
Russian (русский язык) Крачка инков
Spanish (Español) Charrán Inca
Swedish (Svenska) Inkatärna
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The Inca Tern's fishy lifestyle

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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 ... more