The Hawaiian Goose is better known as the Nene by the people of Hawaii. The Haawaiian goose is unique to the islands of Hawaii and is the states official bird. It is thought that the nene evolved from the Canada goose, which most likely arrived on the Hawaiian islands about 500,000 years ago, shortly after the island of Hawaii was formed. The nene is a herbivore that will either graze or browse, depending on the availability of vegetation.
Appearance: – The Hawaiian Goose has a black crown, black nape, black on the front of the face, black chin, buff cheeks and sides of the heavily furrowed neck, and dark ring at base of the neck. The body is grey-brown with upper-parts having barred appearance, rump and tail are black. Eyes, beak and legs are black. Both sexes are alike.
Size: – Typical Adult is about 16 inches.
Food: – Grasses, leaves, seeds, berries, and shrubs.
Habitat: – Shrublands, grasslands, coastal dunes, and lava plains on island of Hawaii and Maui.
Breeding Season: – October to February.
Eggs: – 3 to 6 (creamy white).
Notes: – This goose is a member of the Branta genus (Black Geese). It is the world’s rarest goose. Hunting and predators reduced this species to just 30 birds in 1952, however thanks to leading conservationist Sir Peter Scott, the Nene Goose was bred in captivity at Slimbridge, UK and re-introduced to Hawaii where numbers have now increased. The Hawaiian Goose can be found in captivity at all the WWT centers. The Hawaiian name Nene comes from its soft call.