Bird’s ID – Inca Tern
The Inca Tern (Larosterna inca) is a tern in the family Laridae. It is the only member of the genus Larosterna.
This uniquely plumaged bird breeds on the coasts of Peru and Chile and is restricted to the Humboldt Current. It is an erratic, rare visitor to the southwest coast of Ecuador. It can be identified by its dark grey body, white mustache on both sides of its head, and red-orange beak and feet.
The Inca tern is a large tern, approximately 40 cm (16 in) long. Sexes are similar; the adult is mostly slate-grey with white restricted to the facial plumes and the trailing edges of the wings. The large bill and legs are dark red. Immature birds are purple-brown and gradually develop facial plumes.
The Inca tern breeds on rocky cliffs. It nests in a hollow or burrow or sometimes the old nest of a Humboldt penguin, and lays one or two eggs. The eggs are incubated for about 4 weeks, and the chicks leave the nest after 7 weeks.
The Inca tern feeds primarily on small fish, such as anchovies. The species spots its prey from the air, diving into the water to grab meals with its pointed beak. Its call is a cat-like mew.
© HJ Ruiz – Avian101