The Hawaiian Goose or
Nene, Branta sandvicensis, is a species of goose endemic to the
Hawaiian Islands. It shares a recent common ancestor with Branta
canadensis, the Canada Goose. The official bird of the State of
Hawai'i, the Nene is exclusively found in the wild of the islands
of Mau'i, Kaua'i and Hawai'i. The Nene gets its Hawaiian name
from its soft call. The species has a black head, buff cheeks
and heavily furrowed neck. Bill, legs and feet are black. The
young birds are as the male but duller brown and with less demarcation
between the colours of the head and neck, and striping and barring
effects are much reduced. Bill, legs and feet as for the adult.
The female Hawaiian Goose is similar to the male in colouring
but slightly smaller.
Its strong toes
have much reduced webbing, an adaptation to the lava flows on
which it breeds. It mates on land unlike most other wildfowl.
This is the world's rarest goose. Once common, hunting and introduced
predators such as mongooses, pigs, and cats reduced the population
to 30 birds by 1952. However, this species breeds well in captivity,
and has been successfully re-introduced so that now (2004) it
is estimated that there are 500 birds in the wild (and good numbers
in wildfowl collections).
From The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service