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Hawaiian Goose

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Hawaiian Goose

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Hawaiian Goose
Conservation status: Vulnerable

 
 
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
 
Phylum: Chordata
 
Class: Aves
 
Order: Anseriformes
 
Family: Anatidae
 
Genus: Branta
 
Species: B. sandvicensis
 
Binomial name
Branta sandvicensis
(Vigors, 1833)

The Hawaiian Goose or Nēnē, 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 Hawaiʻi, the Nēnē is exclusively found in the wild of the islands of Mauʻi, Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi. A larger, extinct and possibly flightless species, the Nēnē-nui (Branta hylobadistes) was present in prehistoric times on Maui; related, but hitherto undescribed forms also occurred on Kauaʻi and Oʻahu, and there was a gigantic, flightless relative on the island of Hawaiʻi.

The Nēnē 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 in 2004 it was estimated that there were 500 birds in the wild (and good numbers in wildfowl collections).

References

  • BirdLife International (2004). Branta sandvicensis. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is vulnerable

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.