Goose (Hawaiian) / Branta sandvicensis

Did you know...

The Hawaiian goose, or nene, is one of the world’s rarest geese

It is the state bird of Hawaii

The Hawaiian goose, or nene, is a species endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. It is a medium-sized goose spending most of its time on the ground, although some individuals fly daily between nesting and feeding areas.

It is an herbivore that will either graze or browse, depending on the availability of vegetation. Food includes leaves, seeds, fruit, and flowers of grasses and shrubs.

The breeding season is longer than that of any other goose, lasting more than seven months. Most eggs are laid between November and January.

Unlike other waterfowl, they mate on land. Nests are built by females on a site of their choosing and in which they lay one to five eggs which are incubated for 29 to 32 days. During the incubation period the male acts as a sentry. Goslings are precocial, so well developed on hatching, that they able to feed on their own. However they do not fledge and become flighted for over 3 months and so are very susceptible to predation during this period. They remain with their parents until the following breeding season.

Once common on the Islands of Hawaii, the population was reduced to some 30 birds by 1952 due to hunting, introduced predators and loss of habitat.

A captive breeding programme led by Sir Peter Scott at the WWT at Slimbridge and conservation measures on the islands culminated in a successful reintroduction to the wild.