Inca tern in exhibit
Scientific Name
Larosterna inca
Northern Peru through southern Chile
Ocean coasts and rocky islands
Estimated Wild Population
More than 150,000
Inca tern in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Near Threatened Endangered Status Graph - Near Threatened

More Information

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.

Did You Know?

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

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

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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Two Chilean flamingos in exhibit

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Asian small-clawed otter in exhibit

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African penguin eating a fish

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