Hawaiian Goose

Branta sandvicensis




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White, nest stained.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 3

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground, usually under shrubs or trees.

Nest Material:

Small twigs, leaves, grasses with some down.





Hawaiian Goose: The state bird of Hawaii, AKA Nene Goose; a medium-sized goose with a black head and nape that contrasts with yellow-buff cheeks. Upperparts are heavily barred gray-brown and the underparts are finely barred. Bill and feet are black; feet are only partially webbed for steady walking on the rugged terrain of lava flows. Sexes similar and juveniles resemble the adults at 5 months. Nearly extinct in the wild in the 1950's due to feral cats and the introduction of the mongoose. Formerly know as the Nene or Nene Goose. The name was changed in 2014 by the American Ornithologist Union.

Range and Habitat

Hawaiian Goose: This species is a native of the Hawaiian Islands and is local in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Loa, and Maui. It was recently established and is increasing in population on Kauai and Molokai. This bird prefers scrubland, grasslands, sparsely vegetated slopes and golf courses.

Breeding and Nesting

Hawaiian Goose: These geese form life-long pair bonds. Preferred nest sites include sparsely-to-densely-vegetated beach strands, shrub-lands, grasslands and woodlands on well-drained soil, volcanic ash, cinder, and lava rock substrates. Two to three white eggs are laid in a nest of twigs, leaves and some down, usually on the ground concealed under trees or bushes.

Foraging and Feeding

Hawaiian Goose: These geese are herbivores. They will either graze or browse on the leaves, seeds, fruit, berries and flowers of grasses, herbs and shrubs of native and introduced plants. A favorite food of this goose is the ohelo berry, which is also used by humans in the Islands to make delicious jam.


Hawaiian Goose: Call is a low "nay, nay." Female makes soft purring sounds. When they approach food, they make soft, guttural sounds. Louder calls include a trumpeting sound, followed by a painful sounding moan.

Similar Species

Hawaiian Goose: Canada Goose and Brant show mostly black neck.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X