(Larosterna inca)


Inca Terns will sometimes nest in abandoned Humboldt Penguin nesting burrows.

It breeds on inshore (and occasionally offshore) islands and rocky coastal cliffs. Nests are placed in suitable fissures, burrows, caves and cavities, sometimes the old nest of a Humboldt Penguin  One or two eggs are incubated for about four weeks, and the chicks leave the nest after seven weeks. 


Reduction of nesting habitat as a result of guano harvesting may affect population dynamics. However, Inca Terns are very flexible and successful in using any kind of coverage (natural or artificial) for nesting. They can nest inside abandoned buildings and huts on guano islands, and in any pile of wood and metal slabs. Reduction of anchovy stocks due to commercial fishing may limit population size. The presence of rats and cats on some islands can also prevent nesting or reduce breeding success.


Pacific coast of South American, from northern Peru to central Chile.






Near Threatened

At the Aviary

See the Inca Terns in our Wetlands of the Americas exhibit.