Inca Tern | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Inca Tern | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Inca Tern Overview


The Inca tern is a striking seabird known for its unique and vibrant appearance. It has a black body with contrasting white facial markings that include a distinctive white mustache and a white "beard" that extends down its neck.

In addition to its facial features, the Inca tern has bright red-orange feet and a slender, curved bill. Its striking appearance makes it a captivating sight along the coastal regions of South America, where it is primarily found.

Origins And Evolution

The Inca tern, scientifically known as Larosterna inca, is a species of seabird native to the coastal regions of South America, particularly along the Pacific coast. Its evolutionary history is intertwined with the diverse avian fauna of the region. While its exact evolutionary lineage is complex, it is part of the family Sternidae, which includes other tern species.

Over time, the Inca tern has adapted to its coastal habitat, developing unique physical characteristics such as its distinctive facial markings and vibrant red-orange feet. These adaptations likely aid in mate selection and species recognition.

While not much is famous about its deep evolutionary history, it stands as a fascinating example of avian adaptation and speciation in the diverse ecosystems of South America's coastlines.

Behavior and Lifestyle

The Inca tern is a highly social and gregarious seabird. It forms breeding colonies along the coastal cliffs of South America, often near other bird species. Inca terns are skilled flyers, using their agile wings to capture prey from the ocean's surface.

They are primarily piscivorous, feeding on fish and small marine invertebrates, which they catch through aerial dives and plunges into the water. During the breeding season, they engage in elaborate courtship displays, and both male and female terns share parenting responsibilities, incubating eggs and caring for the chicks.

Inca Tern Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Laridae
  • Genus: Larosterna
  • Species: Larosterna inca

Inca Tern Locations

  • Peru
  • Chile
  • Ecuador
  • Colombia

Fast Facts

  • Name: Inca Tern
  • Scientific Name: Larosterna inca
  • Habitat: Coastal Cliffs
  • Diet: Fish Predators
  • Physical Features: Ornate Plumage
  • Nocturnal: Diurnal Activities
  • Solitary: Social Nesting
  • Unique Order: Charadriiformes Order
  • Lifespan: 10-15 Years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Fun Facts: Whiskered Seabird

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Monochrome Beauty
  • Skin Type: Feathered Plumage
  • Top Speed: Agile Flier
  • Lifespan: 10-15 Years
  • Weight: Moderate Build
  • Length: Medium-sized
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: Not Specified
  • Age of Weaning: Not Applicable

Inca Tern FAQs

Why is it called the Inca tern?

It is named after the Inca Empire due to its presence along the western coast of South America, which was once part of the Inca civilization's territory.

What is the Inca tern's main source of food?

The Inca tern primarily feeds on fish and small marine invertebrates, which it catches through aerial dives and foraging.

How does the Inca tern catch its prey?

It uses its sharp beak to capture fish and other prey items from the ocean's surface while in flight.

Are Inca terns migratory birds?

No, they are not migratory and typically remain in their coastal habitats year-round.

Do Inca terns have any natural predators?

While they may face threats from larger birds, their colonies are often situated in cliffside locations that provide some protection from ground-based predators.


Rate this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *