Inca tern in exhibit

Inca Tern

Scientific Name

Larosterna inca

Class

Aves

Order

Charadriiformes

Range

Northern Peru through southern Chile

Habitat

Ocean coasts and rocky islands

Estimated Wild Population

More than 150,000
Inca tern in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Near Threatened IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Near Threatened

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Physical Description

Inca terns have a dark gray body and a red beak and legs. Moustache-like tufts of white feathers on each side of their beak signal maturity in males and females. They feed primarily on small fish, such as anchovies, and catch their prey by diving into the water with their pointed beak. Inca terns nest on rocky cliffs, laying their eggs in natural holes and burrows.

Interesting Fact 1

Inca terns are native to the same region of South America as the ancient Inca Empire—hence their name.

Interesting Fact 2

Their population decline is likely due to overfishing and ocean pollution.

Interesting Fact 3

The length of their moustache can be a signal of reproductive health and performance.

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Species Survival Plan®

We cooperate with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to manage the zoo population of this species through a Species Survival Plan®.

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Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.

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