Animal of the Week: Inca Tern Jun 09, 2013

This special seabird has a curious feature which looks like a white mustache on its face. This unique trait only develops later on in their lifetimes as the birds mature, which means that, unfortunately, they are not born with a fabulous mustache. When young, the tern’s feathers are purple-brown. As it matures, its plumage becomes dark grey and it grows its distinctive mustache. Inca Terns also have red-orange beaks and feet.

It is the only species in its genus and its scientific name is Larosterna Inca. (On a slight digression, this is called monotypic taxon-a group with only 1 biological type.) What is interesting is that if you see this bird in the wild, you can have a pretty clear idea of where you are geographically, as the Inca Tern only breeds on the coast of Peru and Chile, near the Humboldt Current.

In the cold waters of the Humboldt Current, the Inca Tern feeds on small fish such as squat lobsters and anchovies. They are excellent plunge divers, meaning that they hunt by finding prey in the water while they are flying, and then diving in to catch them. 

The species is considered near threatened, with population estimates at only 150 000. From survey results, it has been noticed that the population of this bird has taken a rapid decline in recent years.

The Inca Tern also has a cat-like mewing sound as its call and lives in colonies of several thousands of birds.

Below are some more pictures of this intriguing mustached bird gathered from around the web for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Baby Inca Tern



By: Kelly Kong

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Demetrius Shaqiraquan Daqarius _ I didn't even read this, * if you agree   Jun 10, 2013
Keith Sçeck _ * and unibrow   Jun 10, 2013
Anon _ Awesome bird '3   Jun 24, 2013
Tyrone _ bitchs aint shyt   Jan 16, 2014