Hawaiian Goose (Nene)

Branta sandvicensis

The Hawaiian Goose, or Nene, is the official bird of the State of Hawaii. It is found in the wild exclusively on the islands of Maui, Kaua’i and Hawai’i, and is the only goose species that currently breeds in the Hawaiian Islands, although, during the winter period, species such as Canada Goose, Brent Goose and other continental mainland geese occur as migrants and vagrants.

Its strong toes have reduced webbing, which is an adaptation to the lava flows on which it breeds. Although Nene are found mostly in the rugged lava fields of Hawai’i, this is probably the only place they have survived rather than their preferred habitat. Its loud calls are like those of the Canada Goose and when disturbed, its call resembles the “moo” of a cow. The Nene does not appear to need fresh water but will use it when available.

This is the world’s rarest goose. Once common, hunting and the introduction of new predators reduced the population to 30 birds by 1952. However, this species breeds well in captivity, and has been successfully re-introduced, so in 2004 it was estimated that there were 500 birds in the wild.

Picture taken in the Attica Zoological Park, Athens, Greece, in June 2007.

Genus Branta
Tribe Anserini
Subfamily Anserinae
Family Anatidae
Order Anseriformes
Class Aves
Subphylum Vertebrata
Phylum Chordata
Kingdom Animalia
Life on Earth