Hawaii State Bird

What Is the State Bird of Hawaii?

The small chain of tropical islands a few thousand miles off the coast of the United States adopted the Nene, also called the Hawaiian Goose, to be the state bird. It made this selection around the same time the territory was applying for statehood. Of note, the name of this bird is pronounced: "nay nay." It is endemic to the state of Hawaii, and it is very different from the other birds in the goose family. The Hawaiian Goose is an endangered species, and it is one of the few types of geese that can still fly. The other species lost the ability to fly during their evolutionary development.

Why Did Hawaii Pick the Nene To Be the State Bird?

The Aloha state chose the Hawaiian Goose to be the official state bird because it was a common sight on the island once upon a time. While there are only a few thousand of these species left, the state decided to pick the Nene to be the state bird in an effort to teach everyone about the importance of the bird and how to protect it. Hawaii has a unique ecosystem, and it is very protective of its natural habitats, which include the animals who live there.

Hawaii even lobbied for the addition of the Hawaiian Goose to the list of endangered species in 1967, which gave the species additional protection. The state has been working hard with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust to raise more Nene before reintroducing them to the state. This type of protection is integral to the survival of the Hawaiian Goose and is just another way the state is proud of its heritage and its symbols.

When Did Hawaii Pick the Hawaiian Goose To Be the State Bird?

Hawaii waited until 1957 to adopt the Hawaiian Goose as its state bird. Both Hawaii and Alaska became states in 1959, which means that Hawaii had a state bird before it completed the application for statehood.

What Are the Defining Characteristics of the Nene?

The Canadian Goose is one of the most common sights across the world, and the Hawaiian Goose is relatively similar. The Hawaiian Goose has a black head with a black face, black feet, and black bill. Then, they have a neck that has a cream color that transitions into a brown abdomen with gray feathers. There are many scientists who believe that the Hawaiian Goose traveled to Hawaii on floating wood and debris as Canadian Geese. Then, they evolved differently during their time spent living on the islands.

The Nene is a monogamous species. When two birds mate, they become mates for life. The males will chase off any rival males as a part of the courtship routine. Then, the birds nest during October and March. The female lays about five eggs per brood, and they are incubated for about a month before they hatch and more young Nene are born. Then, the male Nene guards the eggs and protects the family.

Hawaii state bird
Hawaiian goose (Nēnē)
Scientific Name
Branta sandvicensis
Year Became Official