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Nene Goose


Nene Goose - Branta sandvicensis.

Nene Goose - Branta sandvicensis.

Photo © Blueye / iStockphoto.
The nene (or Hawaiian) goose (Branta sandvicensis) is the state bird of Hawaii. The nene in some ways resembles its closest living relative, the Canada goose (Branta canadensis) although the nene is smaller in size, reaching lengths of 53cm-66cm (21in-26in). The nene has yellow-buff cheeks and black feathers on the back of its neck, the top of its head, and its face. Diagonal rows of creamy-white feathers form deep furrows along its neck.

Males and females are similar in size and markings. The nene's calls include a muted 'moo' and a loud 'haw'. Their breeding season, which is perhaps the longest breeding season of all gooses, extends from November until June with incubation lasting 30 days and the chicks fledging after 10 to 12 weeks. This extended breeding season contributes to the nene's susceptibility to introduced predators, with mongooses, feral cats and dogs often feeding on nene eggs and young.


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Anseriformes
  • Family: Anatidae
  • Genus: Branta
  • Species: Branta sandvicensis

Where to See:

The nene goose is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Wild populations are present on Hawaii (Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Loa, Pu'u Wa'awa'a), Maui (Haleakala National Park), and the lowlands of Kauai. Nenes inhabit grasslands, scrublands, and sparsely vegetaged slopes of Hawaii and Maui's volcanoes as well as the lowland areas of Kauai.


  • Burnie D, Wilson DE. 2001. Animal. London: Dorling Kindersley. 624 p.
  • The Nene or Hawaiin Goose, Aloha-Hawaii.com. July 19, 2005.
  • Hawaiian Audubon Society. 1997. Hawaii's Birds. Honolulu: Audubon Society. 112 p.
  • Medeiros A, Loope L. 1994. Rare Animals and Plants of Haleakala National Park. Hawaii: Hawaii Natural History Association. 56 p.
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