Inca Tern: The Bird with Moustache

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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 moustache on both sides of its head, and red-orange beak and feet. Inca tern features a pair of striking Dali-like white handlebar moustache of specialized feathers that grow out from the fleshy yellow gape at the corners of its brilliant red beak.

The moustache is not male exclusive, it’s shared by the females as well. Aside from being an unusual ornament and a matter of pride, the length of the bird’s moustache is also a reliable signal of its body condition —the longer the moustache, the healthier the birds. Inca terns with longer moustaches tend to mate together and have more and larger chicks.

Thank God for these Unique creations.