Branta sandvicensis


The Nene, or Hawaiian Goose, is Hawaii's state bird. Once numbering around 25,000, the Nene was nearly erradicated, less than 30 birds survived, in the 1940's by hunting and environmental changes brought on by agriculture and introduced animals, such as the mongoose. While still on the endangered list, the Nene's future looks promising with around 800+ birds currently in the wild. The Nene, believed to be a descendant of the Canada Goose, does little flying or swimming, and has developed weaker wings, partially webbed feet, and longer toes for climbing on rocky lava flows. The Nene feeds on both native and introduced plants in the grasslands and slopes where it lives.


Black head and back of neck. Tan cheeks and front of neck. Black bill. Dark eyes with whitish eye ring, but can be hard to see. Brown to reddish tan breast. Brown to reddish-brown wings with white tips. Black undertail. Black legs and feet. Sexes similar, but male is slightly larger. 21 to 26 inches in length.


Scrubland, grassland, golf courses, sparsely vegetated slopes, and rugged lava fields.


1-5 whitish eggs. The eggs have a 30 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 75-90 days. The female incubates the eggs. The bowl shaped nest is built in a hollow in volcanic rock or under a shrub and is lined with grass and down.

Observed Locations:

  • Kilauea Point Lighthouse, Kauaui, HI

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Kilauea Point NWR

Kilauea Point NWR



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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.