POPULATION: 150,000 TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Pacific coast from Peru to Chile; breeds on inshore islands and coastal cliffs
This striking bird occupies part of the same habitat ruled by the
ancient Inca Empire in South America. Inca Terns are best known by their
dashing white mustaches, which are found on both male and female birds.
The species is found only near the cold waters of the Humboldt
Current, where the birds feed on anchovies and other small fish. Like Least Terns,
Inca Terns feed by plunge diving and surface dipping. The birds also
scavenge scraps from sea lions, dolphins, and fishing boats. Declining
fish stocks are one of the reasons for this species’ population decline.
It’s a gregarious species, nesting in colonies of several thousand birds. The recording at the top of this page, from Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge outside of Lima, Peru, gives an idea of what these noisy colonies are like…
My most popular Instagramed photos of 2016. I have some notes: 1) As narcissistic as I feel for posting pictures of myself, you guys apparently like them and are therefore enabling my worst impulses; 2) I wear a lot of hats, in the literal sense; 3) A full year of my mustache as not repelled the general public, so again you’re enabling this; 4) Hi, @blcksmth! You are the only other person to appear in my top nine other than me; 5) My most-liked photo was taken paparazzo-style by @tonyrodrig 6) You also like dogs apparently; 7) Hey! I like dogs too! Let’s go pet some dogs!