The Hawaiian goose or Nēnē (Branta sandvicensis) is native to the Hawaiian islands, where it occupies a variety of habitats ranging from grasslands and scrub forests to sparsely vegetated volcanic slopes. Early Hawaiian settlers hunted Nēnēs to near extinction. A hunting ban was placed in 1907 and Nēnēs were named the state bird in 1957. Captive breeding efforts and protection of nesting areas have helped this endangered bird, and today the wild population is slowly recovering. Their greatest threat is predation of eggs by the introduced Indian mongoose.
The body and wings are dark brown or dark brown-gray in adult Nēnēs. The face and crown are black, cheeks are cream-colored, and the neck is buff with black streaks. The eyes, beak, and feet are also black. Nēnēs have relatively long legs and less toe webbing than other geese, which helps them to walk on lava flows. This species is sexually monomorphic.
Nēnēs are herbivores and forage solely on land. The diet consists of leaves, grasses, flowers, berries, flowers, and seeds.
Nēnēs form life-long pair bonds.
Image by Jim Linwood.
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To cite this page: Pollock C. Waterfowl commonly seen in practice. December 19, 2012. LafeberVet Web site. Available at https://lafeber.com/vet/waterfowl-commonly-seen-in-practice/