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Hawaiian Goose: Nene Bird By Erica C.

Most people in Hawaii know the Nene bird. It is an endangered animal, very close to becoming extinct. It is Hawaii’s state bird. Its scientific name is branta sandvicensis. The second part of their name, sandvicensis, comes from the fact that the Hawaiian Islands were once called the Sandwich Islands.

Description: The Nene bird has brown and gray feathers. Its face and its tail are black. Its neck is white, but has black streaks across it. Most of them are approximately 65 cm. They are a small, attractive, grey-brown goose. It has a body with a scaly pattern of grey, brown and white. Its babies are similar, but browner. Habitat Description: Nene frequents scrubland, grassland, golf courses, sparsely vegetated slopes, and on Kauai, in open lowland country as well as wetlands on the North Shore. The nene could be once found on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lānai, Molokai, and Kauai. But sadly, today its habitat is limited to Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Kauai. Nene Birds’ Diet: The Nene is herbivorous. It will graze, depending on the availability of vegetation. Foods include leaves, seeds, fruits, and flowers of grasses and shrubs. While it is eating, it makes a sound like nay-nay, so they got the name “Nene.”

Mating Season: The breeding season of the Nene is longer than any other goose. It is from August to April but most eggs are laid between November and January. Unlike most other waterfowl, the Nene mates on land. Nests are built by females on a site of their choosing, in which three to six eggs are laid. Females incubate the eggs for 29 to 32 days, while the male acts as a guard. Goslings are able to feed on their own, but they remain with their parents until the following breeding season, when they will part to find their own mate. Nene Bird’s Unexpected Family: Looking at the past of the feathered Hawaiian immigrants, researchers studying the nene bird traced their family all the way to the Canadian goose. The Nene evolved from the Canada Goose (its scientific name is branta Canadensis which is similar

to the nene bird’s ), which most likely arrived on the Hawaiian islands about 500,000 years ago, only shortly after the island of Hawaii was formed. How Nene Birds Became Endangered: It is unbelievable, but there used to be about 25,000 Nene bird flocking around the Hawaiian Islands before Captain Cook came. When he did come, newly introduced predators such as rats, mongooses, and wild dogs and cats made a good meal out of the Nene birds. The modest, timid and helpless Nene birds had not known any of these creatures before. They got caught and eaten. Also, Captain Cook’s crews didn’t know the Nene birds’ life cycle. So, they made a bad choice and killed it during winter, when Nene birds were breeding. Today, the main thing that is killing them is careless drivers who hits them hard, killing them. So goslings have a hard time surviving in the wild, with predators roaming around, starvation, and careless drivers who hit the goslings. How We can Help save the Nene Birds: People have cut down trees and destroyed the Nene birds’ habitat. Also, some careless drivers hit and killed most of them. So, please contribute to not cutting down trees. But most importantly, please let other people know to be careful when driving not to hit any birds at all. Please be patient and wait until it flies off and is sure to be safe. That will help a lot to save other birds, too. ☺ And don’t ever eat the Nene birds!!!

Bibliography for the Nene Bird Project "Nene (bird)." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 26 Mar. 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2014. <>. Harder, Ben. "State Bird of Hawaii Unmasked as Canadian." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 6 Feb. 2002. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. < 2.html>. "Hawaiian "Nene" Goose." Ducks unlimited. Ducks unlimited, n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. < >. "Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands." US Fish & Wildlife Service Pacific Islands in the Pacific Islands. Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 20 Sept. 2012. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. <>. Schweitzer, Veronica S. "Nene Saving the State Bird." Coffee Times. LBD Coffee LLC , n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. <>.


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