Nene
or Hawaiian Geese

Branta sandvicensis

A couple of Nene on a golf course on the Big Island
Note the leg bands, courtesy, I believe, of the Fish and Wildlife Service

This is the only species of goose native to the Hawaiian Islands. Although it was still abundant in the late eighteenth century, hunting pressure and predation by introduced mammals reduced the population to only 30 birds by 1952. Fortunately, the birds responded well to captive-breeding programs and now there are probably over 1,000 living wild on Hawaii (the Big Island) and another smaller population on Maui. They are listed as endangered and fully protected by law.

Nene have less webbing between their toes than other geese, an adaptation to living mostly on land and feeding on the sparse vegetation among the lava flows. Nene are nonmigratory.

The Nene is the state bird of Hawaii.


Nene Links:

The Wildlife Preservation Trust International has a page on Nene

Taking Flight has good general info on the Nene

Here's Wild One's page on Nene, with a sound clip

The National Zoo has a very nice page on Hawaiian Geese

See the Nene at Jack Long's Exotic Birds

And from their own turf, here's the Honolulu Zoo's page on Nene -- and if you use their search option you can find more pictures

Jan's Ornamental Waterfowl

DNA shows genetic variability of the nene lost more than 500 years ago, not during the 20th century


For years I've had a permit to have this endangered species. Finally! That's my male "Forest" on the left and his mate "Kauai" on the right.

"Forest" and "Kauai" alert

And in conversation!

This is the young gander "Choke Trees" who replaced Forest, who lost an encounter with an owl
Photo courtesy of Stefan

That's "Kauai" on the left and "Choke Trees" on the right

A Nene family at Frazier's Aviaries

Nene aggression (toward a Magpie Goose) at Frazier's Aviaries

A Nene calling

A pair of Nene at rest
Photo courtesy of Rupert Stephenson

"Kauai" (on left) and "Choke Trees" with their first born (OK, first hatched!)

This is my Nene flock as of 2008 -- plus there's a male that doesn't get along with the rest of the flock in a pen with one of Choke Trees's daughters


OK, here's the story . . . and it's no wonder this is an endangered species!!

I was burning the brushpile

The supervisors arrive -- "Hey, what's that?

Ouch!
There's 300 birds here on free-range -- who chooses to step into the fire?


My first Nene goslings, day one


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