Nene | Hawaii State Bird Facts
Nene (Branta sandvicensis)
State Bird: Hawaii
|Life Span||25 to 32 Years|
|Conservation Status Vulnerable|
|Wing Span||27-31 cm|
Taxonomic Serial Number 175016
Compared to the Average State Bird
How the Nene measures up:
- Wing span: 5cm and 14% smaller than the average state bird’s wingspan (36cm).
- Weight: 2,915g, 3,429%, and 35 times heavier than the average state bird’s weight (85g)
- Length: 39cm, 144%, and 2.4 times longer than the average state bird’s length (27cm)
|Appearance||Black face, head and neck; buff-colored cheeks; appears to have black stripes on neck because of white feather patterns showing the black skin underneath. Males and females have similar plumage but males are larger in stature.|
|Male Appearance||Males are typically larger.|
|Diet||Dry grass and native shrubs which vegetate lava fields. At the Nene sanctuary they are fed bird chow, water hyacinth, lettuce and papaya.|
|Communication Styles||Loud honk; soft murmuring while beak is closed. Similar in quality to the Canadian Goose.|
Range of Habitation
While the Nene used to range throughout all of the islands, feeding on the lower slopes of all the mountains and coastal areas, the arrival of man has pushed the population largely to the slopes of Mauna Loa, Kilauea, and Hualalai.
The Nene has no predators other than the occasional house cat.
Mating and Breeding
|Breeding Behavior||Typically establish monogamous partnerships and mate on land. Eggs are laid in ground nests concealed under low shrubs guarded by the male.|
|Breeding Season||August through May|
|Nesting||Constructed on the ground, lined with down, and generally well concealed under bushes. Nenes often prefer to nest in the same location.|
|Nesting and Incubation||The incubation period is about 30 days.|
|Color||Pearly white. Similar in shape and size to a chicken egg.|
|Clutch Size||3 to 5 egg(s)|
|Egg Laying Months||October through May|
Gray balls of fuzzy down feathers with soft beaks. While hatchlings (goslings) are able to feed on their own very quickly, they flightless for 11-14 weeks, and will follow their parents for 5-6 months as they feather out.
|Interesting Fact||Almost became extinct in late 1940s because of unregulated hunting and invasive predators, the Nene population has slowly recovered though still vulnerable.|
|Best Season to Observe||AutumnSpringSummerWinter|
|Observation Tips||Found on Hawai’i, Maui and Kaua’i; they are social, naturally inquisitive and easy to find, especially late afternoon and early evening.|
|Other Names||Nēnē and Hawaiian Goose|