Hawaiian State Bird | Nene

Hawaiian State Bird Today at Light Future Art, we’re going to share some fun facts about the Hawaiian state bird, the nene, or Hawaiian goose!

1. Nenes prefer not to fly. A rare few do travel across islands, and slightly more fly short distances frequently, but the nene mostly lives their lives on the ground.
2. They also don’t swim much. Unlike other geese, they don’t need open water to survive and mate on land. The most swimming they usually do is a quick bath in a pond.
3. The nene is related to Canadian geese. Based on fossil evidence, the ancestors of the Hawaiian goose arrived on the islands about 500,000 years ago.

 

Nene Standing in Grass4. There once was a species of Giant Hawaiian geese, standing approximately four feet tall and weighing 20 pounds. This species has since gone extinct, like many large birds.
5. The nene gets its name from its soft chirps. Directly translated, “nene” means “to chirp or croak softly”.
6. Nenes get most of the water they need from the grasses, flowers, leaves, and berries which make up the majority of their diets. However, when in captivity, they will drink water when it is provided.

 

Mother Nene and Chicks7. The Hawaiian goose became the state bird of Hawaii in 1957. The nene has had a long history of being honored in Hawaii, though. They are regarded as a symbol uniting the mountains and the coast.
8. The nene’s feet are not completely webbed. They also have long toes and nails which helps them cross over jagged igneous terrain.
9. The nene population was at an all-time low in the 1960s, with their numbers counting only in the 20s. This was due to multiple invasive species preying upon the birds and their eggs, such as mongooses, pigs, cats, and dogs. Thanks to tireless conservation work, there are now thousands of nenes on the islands. Though still endangered, they are recovering. They are no longer considered to be in immediate danger of going extinct.
10. Nenes are monogamous, mating for life rather than just during one breeding season. When one of the geese dies, the other may find another mate. Both parents also are in charge of caring for offspring, though the female is the only one who builds the nest.

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