The nene (Branta sandvicensis), also known as nēnē and Hawaiian goose, is a species of bird endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. The official bird of the state of Hawaiʻi, the nene is exclusively found in the wild on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, Molokai, and Hawaiʻi.
The Hawaiian name nēnē comes from its soft call. The specific name sandvicensis refers to the Sandwich Islands, a former name for the Hawaiian Islands.
It is thought that the nene evolved from the Canada goose (Branta canadensis), which most likely arrived on the Hawaiian islands about 500,000 years ago, shortly after the island of Hawaiʻi was formed. This ancestor is the progenitor of the nene as well as the prehistoric giant Hawaiʻi goose (Branta rhuax) and nēnē-nui (Branta hylobadistes). The nēnē-nui was larger than the nene, varied from flightless to flighted depending on the individual, and inhabited the island of Maui. Similar fossil geese found on Oʻahu and Kauaʻi may be of the same species. The giant Hawaiʻi goose was restricted to the island of Hawaiʻi and measured 3.9 ft in length with a mass of 19 lb, making it more than four times larger than the nene. It is believed that the herbivorous giant Hawaii goose occupied the same ecological niche as the goose-like ducks known as moa-nalo, which were not present on the Big Island. Based on mitochondrial DNA found in fossils, all Hawaiian geese, living and extinct, are closely related to the giant Canada goose (B. c. maxima) and dusky Canada goose (B. c. occidentalis).
The nene is a medium-sized goose at 16 inches tall. Although they spend most of their time on the ground, they are capable of flight, with some individuals flying daily between nesting and feeding areas. Females have a mass of 3.36-5.64 pounds, while males average at 3.74-6.72 pounds, 11% larger than females. Adult males have a black head and hind neck, buff cheeks and heavily furrowed neck. Aside from being smaller, the female Nene is smaller to the male in coloration. The adult's bill, legs, and feet are black. It has soft feathers under it's chin. Goslings resemble adults, but are duller brown with less demarcation between the colors of the head and neck, and striping and barring effects are much reduced.
The nene could have been found at one time on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Kaho'olawe, Lanai, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai. Today the range is restricted to Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Kauai. A pair arrived at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on Oahu in January 2014. Two of their offspring survived and are seen regularly at the nearby golf course at Turtle Bay Resort.
The nene population stands at 2,500 birds, making it the world's rarest goose. It's believed that it was once common, with approximately 25,000 Hawaiian geese living on Hawaii when Captain James Cook arrived in 1778. Hunting and introduced predators, such as small Asian mongooses, pigs, and cats reduced the population to 30 birds by 1952. Species breeds well in captivity, and has been successfully re-introduced. In 2004 it was estimated that there were 800 birds in the wild, as well as 1,000 in wildfowl collections and zoos.
Brighten up your lunchtime with this Berry Grape Chicken Salad! It's a super simple recipe that starts with precooked chicken and features lots of fresh fruit (as well as an unexpected ingredient). Once everything comes together, and you take your first bite, you'll fall in love with this tasty combination!
- 1 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half
- 1 cup green seedless grapes, sliced in half
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 red apple, cored and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
- 2 cups chicken, cooked and cut into chunks
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
And births this date include...
1939 – Francis Richard 'Dick' Scobee, American astronaut (d. 1986)
1949 – Archie Manning, American football player