Gros plan sur la tête d'un sterne inca au parc animalier Le PAL
Couple de sterne inca au parc Le PAL
Couple de Sterne Inca au parc animalier Le PAL

Inca tern

Scientific name :
Latosterna inca
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A member of the larosterna genus, the Inca tern is among the most colourful and elegant of sea birds. The adult is slate grey in colour, with long white-tipped wings, a slightly forked tail and dark red feet and bill. It owes its elegance to the bright yellow caruncle located at the base of its bill, from which protrude fine white feathers like a long moustache that contrast with the grey colouring of its head. Juveniles are completely brown in colour and do not yet display any of these features.


Geographic distribution of the Inca tern

Inca terns are endemic in the region of the Humboldt current and can be found on the western shores of South America.


Habits of the Inca tern

It is a social animal that lives in groups and nests in colonies containing several thousand individuals. It has remarkable fishing skills: it is lively and agile and usually dives to catch its prey. It mainly nests on cliff faces to protect its chicks, and couples stay in the same nesting site. This species is considered to be under threat in its range of distribution.

Did you know?

The Inca tern produces a sound like a cat’s mew.
Rocky cliffs and sandy beaches on coastland
Length: 41 cm.
Weight: 180 g to 210 g.
Wingspan: 80 cm
Small fish, e.g. smelt, anchovies and crustaceans.
Longevity: +/- 25 years.
Lays: 1 to 3 eggs.
Brooding: 21 to 28 days.
Sexual maturity: 2 to 3 years

Conservation status

Stable Threatened Critically endangered