Nene Bird

The nene (Branta sandvicensis), also known as nene and Hawaiian goose, is a species of goose endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The official bird of the state of Hawai?i, the nene is exclusively found in the wild on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kaua?i and Hawai?i.

The Hawaiian name nene comes from its soft call. The species name sandvicensis refers to the Sandwich Islands, an old name for the Hawaiian Islands.

The nene is a medium-sized goose at 41 cm (16 in) tall. Although they spend most of their time on the ground, they are capable of flight, with some individuals flying daily between nesting and feeding areas. Some are born without the ability to fly. Females have a mass of 1.525–2.56 kg (3.36–5.64 lb), while males average 1.695–3.05 kg (3.74–6.72 lb), 11% larger than females. Adult males have a black head and hindneck, buff cheeks and heavily furrowed neck. The neck has black and white diagonal stripes. Aside from being smaller, the female nene is similar to the male in colouration. The adult's bill, legs and feet are black. It has soft feathers under its chin. Goslings resemble the male, but are a duller brown and with less demarcation between the colours of the head and neck, and striping and barring effects are much reduced. The bill, legs and feet are the same as for the adult. Its strong toes are padded and have reduced webbing, an adaptation that allows it to swiftly traverse rough terrain such as lava plains.

The nene is an inhabitant of shrubland, grassland, coastal dunes, and lava plains, and related anthropogenic habitats such as pasture and golf courses from sea level to as much as 2,400 m (7,900 ft). Some populations migrated between lowland breeding grounds and montane foraging areas.

The nene could at one time be found on the islands of Hawai?i, Maui, Kaho?olawe, Lana?i, Moloka?i, and Kaua?i. Today, its range is restricted to Hawai?i, Maui, Moloka?i, and Kaua?I. A pair arrived at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on O?ahu in January 2014; two of their offspring survived and are seen regularly on the nearby golf courses at Turtle Bay Resort.

The breeding season of the nene, from August to April, is longer than that of any other goose; most eggs are laid between November and January. Unlike most other waterfowl, the nene mates on land. Nests are built by females on a site of their choosing, in which one to five eggs are laid (average is three on Maui and Hawai?i, four on Kaua?i). Females incubate the eggs for 29 to 32 days, while the male acts as a sentry. Goslings are precocial, able to feed on their own; they remain with their parents until the following breeding season.

The nene is a herbivore that will either graze or browse, depending on the availability of vegetation. Food items include the leaves, seeds, fruit, and flowers of grasses and shrubs.