Monday, September 12, 2011


The Nene is a smallish Goose endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. It is also the state bird of Hawaii. There were once five Goose species found only on those islands, and unfortunately the Nene is the only one left.

Branta sandvicensis
Though the Nene is rare, it has much more in common with other North American Geese than you may think. Scientist have now uncovered the fact that Nene and Canadian Geese evolved from a same common ancestor, and that the Nene (and other Hawaiian Goose species) branched off from their relatives when a flock landed on the islands around 500,00 years ago!

Nene are opportunistic feeders that will eat just about any type of vegetation. They have a long breeding season, and mate on land, which is unusual among Geese. Females do the incubation work, while males guard the nest. While the young birds are precocial and grow quickly, they remain with their parents until the next breeding season.

The introduction of new mammal species, hunting, and habitat loss have caused this bird to become Vulnerable. The yearly hatching percentages are now low due to inbreeding in the remaining population.  Efforts are being made to increase predator control, monitor breeding grounds, and provide public education about the bird.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : Hawaii
Size : Height up to 16in (41cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Anseriformes
Family : Anatidae -- Genus : Branta -- Species : B. sandvicensis

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