Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Nene have the longest nesting season of any wild goose species; eggs are laid in the winter months from August to April, although most eggs are laid during November-January (2). Females lay eggs in hollows in the ground amongst vegetation; these nests are often found in a 'kipuka' (an island of vegetation surrounded by barren lava) (8). Hens incubate their clutch (usually three eggs) for 30 days (9). Goslings remain flightless for three months, making them particularly vulnerable to predation (4). Adults feed on grasses and fruits of native and introduced plants and give similar calls to Canada geese (4). Unlike other geese, nene do not require open water although they will swim if there is water near to their nest (8).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 4.0 of 5

Description

The nene, or Hawaiian goose, was adopted as the official bird of Hawaii in 1957 (4). It is similar in appearance to the Canada goose although only the face, crown and back of the neck are black whereas the front of the neck is a golden-buff colour and the cheeks are tinged with ochre (5). Nene also have striking black diagonal furrows running the length of their neck and these contrast with the lighter-coloured plumage (2). Both sexes have identical plumage and, unusually amongst geese, the feet are only partially webbed (4) (6). Another unusual feature of the nene is the relatively long legs, which enable it to run and climb over very rugged terrain (such as lava fields) and to walk without the typical waddle of other geese (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 4.0 of 5

Distribution

The Hawaiian Goose, or nene, is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.

Biogeographic Regions: pacific ocean (Native )

Other Geographic Terms: island endemic

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 4.0 of 5

Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Fossil records suggest that this species originally occurred on all the main islands. Historically, this species occurred on the Big Island (Hawaii) from sea level to 2,400 meters in elevation. It probably also occurred on Maui in the subalpine zone. Currently, the species ranges from just above sea level to approximately 2,700 meters on the islands of Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii. Highest densities on the Big Island occur on the upper slopes of Hualalai, in upper Kau, and in the saddle area between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Highest densities on Maui occur in Haleakala National Park (Scott et al. 1986, Hawaii Audubon Society 1993).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 3.0 of 5

Range Description

Branta sandvicensis is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (U.S.A.). Fossil analysis suggests that it once occurred throughout the main islands (Olson and James 1991). However, along with other species, it declined due to habitat loss and alteration, and predation by humans and introduced predators (Olson and James 1991, A. Marshall, D. Hu and K. Misajon in litt. 2007). The species is now the focus of conservation efforts. Between 1960 and 2006, over 2,400 captive-bred individuals have been released on Big Island, Moloka'i, Maui and Kaua'i (A. Marshall, D. Hu and K. Misajon in litt. 2007). During the drought years of 1976-1983, the majority of released birds (c.1,200) perished (Black et al. 1997). Of 63 birds released between 2000-2001 and 2005-2006, 55 (87%) survived their first year (A. Marshall, D. Hu and K. Misajon in litt. 2007). On Big Island, the population has been partly dependent on continued releases, although large numbers are no longer needed to maintain a stable population (C. Terry in litt. 1999, A. Marshall in litt. 2012). This is the most genetically diverse population (F. Woog in litt. 2006). The population on Maui is considered to be more or less stable (A. Marshall, D. Hu and K. Misajon in litt. 2007). On Kaua'i, numbers had increased to c.1,400-1,600 by 2011. There is now a large population at Kaua'i Lagoons adjacent to the airport, and the state plans to move around 400 from there to sites on Maui, Big Island and Moloka'i. In 2011, the population was estimated at around 2,500 birds state-wide (A. Marshall in litt. 2012).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

endemic to a single state or province

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Historic Range:
U.S.A. (HI)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

Upland lava flows of Hawaii; introduced to Maui.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, today the nene is most commonly found in and around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island and in Haleakala National Park on Maui. A large and growing population also occurs in lowland grass pastures on the island of Kauai (4), and nene have recently been reintroduced to the island of Molokai (7).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Physical Description

Morphology

Adult nenes are either sepia or dark brown, with no difference in plumage between males and females. The face and crown are black, while the cheeks are cream-colored and the neck is buff with black streaks. The body is brown to grey, the wings are brown to gray, with white tips and the bottom side of the tail is black. The eyes, beak, and feet are black as well. Nenes have longer legs and less toe webbing than other geese, adaptations which aid walking on lava flows.

Range mass: 1.8 to 2.3 kg.

Range length: 53 to 66 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Size

Length: 64 cm

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Diagnostic Description

Lacks the broad white chin strap of the Canada goose.

Differs from other true geese by having longer legs, more erect posture, and reduced webbing between its toes (Banko et al. 1999).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Type Information

Type for Nesochen sandvicensis
Catalog Number: USNM A15644
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: unknown; Adult
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): Collector Unknown
Locality: Mountains of Hawaii, Hawaii County, Hawaii Island, Main Hawaiian Islands, North Pacific Ocean
  • Type: Peale. 1848. U.S. Exploring Expedition. 8 (mamm. and orn.): 249, pl. lxix.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds

Source: National Museum of Natural History Collections

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
In 1949, the remaining populations on Big Island inhabited rocky, sparsely vegetated, high volcanic slopes. Following habitat loss and alteration for agriculture (Olson and James 1991), the optimal habitat is now apparently grassland, where there is an abundance of high protein food, adjacent to natural scrubland nesting areas (Black et al. 1994, Black 1995, Black et al. 1997). Breeding success and productivity are currently low except on Kaua'i. In recent studies, less than 10% of all breeding-age females successfully bred (Banko et al. 1997, F. Woog in litt. 2006), although this may not be the case on Kaua'i (A. Marshall, D. Hu and K. Misajon in litt. 2007).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Nenes inhabit a variety of habitats, including grasslands, scrub forests, and sparsely vegetated volcanic slopes.

Range elevation: 0 to 2400 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; scrub forest ; mountains

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: Mainly on sparsely vegetated lava flows (regarded as marginal habitat). Formerly occupied lowland habitats now destroyed or inhabited by predators. Does not require open water. During nonbreeding season feeds in pastures dominated by introduced grasses. Nests on lava often in site well concealed by vegetation; also nests in vegetation near edges of kipukas. Commonly returns to same area to nest in successive years.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Nene are adaptable and opportunistic in terms of habitat use; found historically on rocky, sparsely vegetated, high volcanic slopes but primarily nesting in lowland habitats (2). Preferred habitat today is pastureland adjacent to natural shrubland (5), although efforts are being made in the national parks to restore native plants species and communities that may have been important to nene before habitats were disturbed by introduced ungulates and other threats (7).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Nenes are herbivores and forage solely on land. They eat leaves, grasses, flowers, berries, flowers, and seeds. Nenes usually eat the more nutrient rich bottom part of grasses, and grab and pull food with their beaks. Several important grasses on the Hawaiian islands that are eaten by nenes include Digitaria violascens, Andropogon virginicus, Sporobolus africanus, Carex wahuensis and some others.

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore )

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comments: Eats greens, fruits, seeds. Green vegetation and berries of native plants, such as VACCINIUM spp., COPROSMA ERNODEODES, STYPHELIA TAMEIAMEIAE, and OSTEOMELES ANTHYLLIDIFOLIA (Matthews and Moseley 1990).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Nenes are important at spreading seeds for many of the plants on which they feed. They are also important food sources for many of the predators mentioned in the previous predation section.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Males defend their brood and nest most often, while females also engage in defense sometimes. Threat displays such as the bent neck and forward threat are used to scare off predators. When defending themselves from aerial attack, nenes produce alarm calls, huddle in groups and spread wings, or they simply fly away. Chicks usually hide behind parents, leaving defense to them.

Known Predators:

  • barn owls (Tyto alba)
  • short-eared owls (Asio flammeus sandwichensis)
  • Hawaiian hawks (Buteo solitarius)
  • peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus)
  • Polynesian rats (Rattus exulans)
  • feral pigs (Sus scrofa)
  • Indian mongooses (Herpestes auropunctatus)
  • domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris)
  • feral cats (Felis silvestris)
  • roof rats (Rattus rattus)

Anti-predator Adaptations: aposematic

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 80

Comments: About 25 separate sites (from map in Banko et al. 1999). Many of these, however, are not self-sustaining.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Abundance

250 - 1000 individuals

Comments: Banko et al. (1999) estimated about 885 wild or free-ranging Nene: Hawai'i, 393; Maui, 236; Kaua'i, 256.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

General Ecology

Nonbreeders form loose flocks during breeding season. Detailed information on home range lacking, but generally range within 200 square kilometers (Banko et al. 1999).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Other than threat and mating displays and sounds described previously, vocalizations are used to communicate with family members, solidify territory, send alarm calls, and threaten predators. Nenes also murmur when foraging as a way of maintaining foraging distance between family members. Chicks can send pleasure calls, distress calls, sleepy calls and greeting calls. Calls are louder during and close to breeding season.

In addition to auditory cues, vision is key in foraging and recognizing family members, predators, and opponents.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic

Other Communication Modes: duets

Perception Channels: visual ; ultraviolet; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life Expectancy

Annual mortality varies greatly from study to study, depending on whether the animal is wild or in captivity, locality, elevation, etc. The range is from 0 to 87% annual mortality, with slightly lower mortality rates for males than females. In the wild the main causes of mortality include exposure (from low temperatures in high nesting locations), predation (from several indigenous and introduced raptor species, as well as rats, pigs, dogs and mongoose), competition with other species (due to an overlap in diet with game birds and grazing mammals), and starvation or dehydration due to drought. In captivity, 84% of deaths resulted from parasites and diseases while the remaining 16% resulted from trauma. Males die evenly throughout the year. Female mortality occurs mainly in the breeding season when they are most vulnerable to exposure, trauma, and stress from egg laying and predation.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
28 (high) years.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
42 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
213 months.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 42 years (wild)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Source: AnAge

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

Nenes form life-long pair bonds. The male attempts to court the female by stiffly walking in front of her and showing her the white area under his tail. After the female has accepted the male, the two engage in a triumph ceremony in which the male aggressively pushes away rivals and then calls loudly. This is followed by calling into each other's ears. The display before copulation is comparable to other geese, except done on land instead of water. The head and neck are mutually dipped onto the ground, more and more synchronously. Finally the female becomes ready and the male mounts the female. Afterwards, the male raises his wings, pulls his mate's head back and touches her nape with his beak. This is followed by simultaneous calling by both birds, followed by the female flapping its wings and the male strutting.

Mating System: monogamous

Nenes have an extended breeding season ranging from August through April. However, the majority of nesting occurs between the months of October and March, and eggs are usually laid during the winter months between October and January. Nesting occurs on the ground in areas of dense vegetation. Nests are lined with plants and soft down. The female incubates and the male guards the female on the nest. Clutches consist of between 1 and 5 eggs, with an average of 3. Chicks are precocial, stop following parents within one year, and are sexually mature within 2 to 3 years.

Breeding interval: Breeding occurs once a year, though not all pairs lay eggs every year.

Breeding season: Breeding occurs from August through April, with most activity from October to March.

Range eggs per season: 1 to 5.

Range time to hatching: 29 to 31 days.

Average fledging age: 3 months.

Average time to independence: 1 years.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 to 3 years.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 to 3 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous

The female selects the nesting site, usually near her own natal site. Females dig a shallow scrape, usually under a bush or tree, and line the scrape with vegetation. Males rarely contribute to nest building. Females incubate the eggs, while the male guards her, though not constantly. The female spends roughly four hours of each day away from the nest, when she eats and rests. During hatching, the female spends more time on the nest, and stays on top of the young until their down dries. The young do not need to be fed by parents. Young readily forage within the first day. However, they remain close to their parents until roughly one year old.

Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Male, Female)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Nesting season is about October-March in native habitat. Clutch size usually is 3-5. Incubation lasts 29-31 days. Young able to run as soon as dry, first fly at 10-12 weeks; vulnerable to predators before flight attained. Sexually mature typically in 2 years. Usually does not renest in same season if first attempt fails.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Branta sandvicensis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGCATGAGCAGGAATAGTCGGCACCGCACTCAGCCTATTAATCCGCGCAGAACTAGGACAACCAGGGACTCTCCTAGGCGACGACCAAATTTACAATGTAATCGTCACCGCCCACGCCTTTGTGATAATCTTCTTTATAGTCATACCCATCATGATCGGAGGATTCGGCAACTGATTAGTACCCCTCATAATCGGCGCCCCCGACATAGCATTCCCCCGAATAAATAACATAAGCTTTTGACTCCTCCCACCATCATTCCTCTTACTACTAGCCTCATCCACTGTAGAAGCTGGCGCCGGTACAGGCTGAACTGTATACCCTCCCCTGGCAGGTAACCTCGCCCACGCCGGGGCTTCAGTAGACCTGGCTATTTTCTCGCTTCACTTAGCCGGTGTCTCCTCCATCCTTGGGGCCATCAACTTCATTACCACAGCCATCAACATAAAACCCCCCGCACTCTCACAATACCAAACCCCACTATTCGTCTGATCCGTCCTAATCACTGCCATCCTACTCCTCCTGTCGCTCCCCGTACTCGCCGCCGGCATCACAATGCTACTAACTGACCGAAACCTAAACACCACATTCTTCGACCCCGCCGGAGGGGGAGACCCAATCCTGTACCAGCACCTATTCTGATTCTTCGGACACCCAGAAGTCTACATCCTGATTCTG
-- end --

Download FASTA File

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Branta sandvicensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
D1

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Baker, H.C., Baker, P.E., Black, J., Camp, R., Dibden-Young, A., Fretz, S., Gorresen, M., Hu, D., Marshall, A., Misajon, K., Morin, M., Telfer, T., Terry, C., VanderWerf, E., Woodworth, B. & Woog, F.

Justification
The overall population of this species has increased from a low of perhaps just 30 birds in the mid-1900s to over 2,000 individuals in 2011. The majority of the population outside Kaua'i does not breed successfully in the wild, so the effective population size is very small and consequently the species is listed as Vulnerable.


History
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Threatened (T)