Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)


Hawaiian Goose (Branta sandvicensis)


French: Bernache néné German: Hawaiigans Spanish: Barnacla nené
Other common names: Nene

Anser sandvicensis


, 1834,

Hawaiian Islands


Sometimes placed in monospecific genus Nesochen. Molecular analysis (two types of mtDNA) found that this species was sister to B. canadensis#R. Monotypic.


Hawaiian Is, on Hawaii; reintroduced with success to Maui and Kaua’I, and attempted reintroduction to Moloka’i.

Descriptive notes

56–71 cm; male c. 1695–3050 g, female 1525–2560 g. Black face and crown, and black ring at base of neck. Distinctive neck pattern, with noticeable lines of... read more


Probable origin of original Polynesian name is low murmuring “nay” or “nay-nay” (given with bill... read more


Lava flows on poorly vegetated volcanic slopes at 500–2500 m; also, where available,... read more

Food and feeding

Essentially vegetarian; grasses, herbs, berries, leaves and green parts of sedges and plants with high water content. Recent study... read more


Usually starts Oct/Nov, but laying can be initiated as early as late Aug and continue until Apr. At least reintroduced females can show... read more


Considered to mostly sedentary, with only evidence of small-scale, local movements (e.g. within 25... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES I. Introduction of alien predators to breeding islands resulted in massive decline in numbers: c. 25,000 at end of 18th century, but only 30 by 1952.... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Hawaiian Goose (Branta sandvicensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 November 2019).