Branta sandvicensis - (Vigors, 1834)
Hawaiian Goose
Other English Common Names: Hawaiian goose
Synonym(s): Nesochen sandvicensis
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Branta sandvicensis (Vigors, 1834) (TSN 175016)
French Common Names: Berrnache nÚnÚ
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106176
Element Code: ABNJB05040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Waterfowl
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae Branta
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Branta sandvicensis
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly included in the genus nesochen; included in branta by the American Ornithologists' Union (1993). Mitochondrial DNA data and geologically calibrated estimates of time indicate that the Hawaiian Goose and the Canada Goose diverged from a common ancestor 0.82 to 1.08 million years ago (Paxinos 1998; Quinn et al. 1991).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 27Apr2004
Global Status Last Changed: 02Jun2000
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Restricted to Hawaiian Islands; small wild population; most populations require ongoing restocking to maintain current numbers; threats to gosling survival are constant.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (05Jan1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Hawaii (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (11Mar1967)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R1 - Pacific
IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Protection Status (CITES): Appendix I

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Fossil records suggest that this species originally occurred on all the main islands. Historically, this species occurred on the Big Island (Hawaii) from sea level to 2,400 meters in elevation. It probably also occurred on Maui in the subalpine zone. Currently, the species ranges from just above sea level to approximately 2,700 meters on the islands of Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii. Highest densities on the Big Island occur on the upper slopes of Hualalai, in upper Kau, and in the saddle area between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Highest densities on Maui occur in Haleakala National Park (Scott et al. 1986, Hawaii Audubon Society 1993).

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: About 25 separate sites (from map in Banko et al. 1999). Many of these, however, are not self-sustaining.

Population Size: 250 - 1000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Banko et al. (1999) estimated about 885 wild or free-ranging Nene: Hawai'i, 393; Maui, 236; Kaua'i, 256.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Hunting, egg collecting, and predation contributed to the historic decline. Scarcity of native food plants, predation by introduced mammals, and perhaps habitat loss are probably the main reasons for continued difficulties. In certain areas, collisions with vehicles is the major cause of mortality. In general, populations are limited by food scarcity in highlands and by introduced predators in lowlands (Banko et al. 1999). Long-term survival outlook is unclear (Pratt et al. 1987). "Substantial additional efforts" are needed to counter these threats if the Nene is to recover fully (Banko et al. 1999).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: USFWS (1990) categorized the status as "declining." Populations at Keeau (Hawaii) and on Kauai have increased dramatically, due to good lowland foraging habitat and few predators (Banko et al. 1999; Black et al. 1991). The upland Maui population "seems stable" (Banko et al. 1999).

Long-term Trend: Decline of >90%
Long-term Trend Comments: Formerly abundant; extirpated first from lowlands; became extinct on Maui before 1890; nearly extinct in wild by 1951. Range and numbers subsequently increased through captive breeding and release, but most populations are not self-sustaining (Banko et al. 1999).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: General inventories regularly are conducted on each island where this species exists, but overall population estimates should be done on a more regular basis.

Protection Needs: Populations outside of the National Parks need protection. Many birds considered "protected" often move in and out of the national parks into areas lacking protection.

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Fossil records suggest that this species originally occurred on all the main islands. Historically, this species occurred on the Big Island (Hawaii) from sea level to 2,400 meters in elevation. It probably also occurred on Maui in the subalpine zone. Currently, the species ranges from just above sea level to approximately 2,700 meters on the islands of Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii. Highest densities on the Big Island occur on the upper slopes of Hualalai, in upper Kau, and in the saddle area between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Highest densities on Maui occur in Haleakala National Park (Scott et al. 1986, Hawaii Audubon Society 1993).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: endemic to a single state or province

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States HI

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
HI Hawaii (15001), Kauai (15007), Maui (15009)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
20 Hawaii (20010000)+, Maui (20020000)+, Molokai (20050000)+, Kauai (20070000)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A medium-sized, heavily barred, gray-brown goose.
General Description: A medium-sized goose, averaging about 64 cm long; face, cap, and hindneck black, side of neck buff with dark furrows; body and folded wings are gray-brown and barred; bill and feet black; relatively little webbing between the toes; sexes are similar in appearance (Pratt et al. 1987).

Medium-sized goose: 63-69 cm long; female 1315-2560 g; male 1675-3050 g. Face and crown black, cheek cream-colored; neck pale grayish, streaked with black.

Diagnostic Characteristics: Lacks the broad white chin strap of the Canada goose.

Differs from other true geese by having longer legs, more erect posture, and reduced webbing between its toes (Banko et al. 1999).

Reproduction Comments: Nesting season is about October-March in native habitat. Clutch size usually is 3-5. Incubation lasts 29-31 days. Young able to run as soon as dry, first fly at 10-12 weeks; vulnerable to predators before flight attained. Sexually mature typically in 2 years. Usually does not renest in same season if first attempt fails.
Ecology Comments: Nonbreeders form loose flocks during breeding season. Detailed information on home range lacking, but generally range within 200 square kilometers (Banko et al. 1999).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree
Habitat Comments: Mainly on sparsely vegetated lava flows (regarded as marginal habitat). Formerly occupied lowland habitats now destroyed or inhabited by predators. Does not require open water. During nonbreeding season feeds in pastures dominated by introduced grasses. Nests on lava often in site well concealed by vegetation; also nests in vegetation near edges of kipukas. Commonly returns to same area to nest in successive years.
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore
Food Comments: Eats greens, fruits, seeds. Green vegetation and berries of native plants, such as VACCINIUM spp., COPROSMA ERNODEODES, STYPHELIA TAMEIAMEIAE, and OSTEOMELES ANTHYLLIDIFOLIA (Matthews and Moseley 1990).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 64 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: Most populations are dependent on releases of captive-raised birds (Black et al. 1991).

Management at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park has involved the use of predator-free nesting enclosures and reestablishment of native food plants (Matthews and Moseley 1990). See "Nene recovery plan" (1983). See also Kear and Berger (1980).

The presence of nene on and adjacent to runways at Lihue Airport on Kauai poses a potential management problem (End. Sp. Tech. Bull. 16(6):4).

A new captive propagation facility was completed at Olinda, Maui, in the late 1980s.

See USFWS (1990) for a brief recovery progress report.

Native forests should be restored to the highest degree possible. Continued eradication of alien species from the vicinity of occupied habitat areas is needed. Linking disjunct populations through reforestation efforts could improve the prospect for long term survival.

Management Research Needs: Investigate methods to alleviate threats from exotic predators.
Biological Research Needs: Further research on nutritional requirements is needed.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Swans and Geese

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Nest Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Mapping Guidance: Map Foraging Areas in separate polygons from the nest site if they are separated from the nest by areas simply flown over on commuting routes.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas and foraging areas used during the nesting season, but the separation distance is based on nesting-area polygons. Thus different occurrences may overlap if birds from different nesting areas travel to the same foraging area during the nesting season. The separation distance is arbitrary but is intended to yield occurrences that are not impracticably large for conservation purposes.

Canada Geese usually forage near nest site, but adults will forage up to 8 kilometers away (Williams and Sooter 1941, Hammond and Mann 1956) and young will occasionally travel up to 16 kilometers to a foraging area as well (Palmer 1976). Mean home ranges of brood-rearing Snow Geese ranged from 6.6 to 21.7 square kilometers on Bylot Island (Hughes et al. 1994).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 3 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on the conservative, smaller mean home range for Snow Geese of 6.6 square kilometers (Hughes et al. 1994).
Date: 26Apr2004
Author: Cannings, S. and G. Hammerson
Notes: Contains all species of swans and geese, as well as whistling-ducks.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Some swans - Cygnus buccinator, in particular - have known migratory routes and staging areas. For these, evidence of past or present recurring presence of migrating or staging flocks and potential recurring presence at a given location. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season and habitat; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary, set to yield occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes.
Date: 07Aug2017
Author: Ormes, M.
Notes: Created at request of NE; needs review by zoologist.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging area, Roosting site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of past or present recurring presence of flocks of nonbreeding birds, including nonbreeding birds within the breeding season and breeding individuals outside the breeding season, and potential recurring presence at a given location. Normally only areas where concentrations greater than 50 birds occur regularly for at least 20 days per year would be deemed EOs.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance arbitrary, set to yield occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations. Swans and geese can travel considerable distances on a daily basis; in winter, flocks of Canada Geese foraged up to 48 km from roost in Texas (Glazener 1946).
Date: 26Apr2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson
Notes: Contains all species of swans and geese, as well as whistling-ducks.

Use Class: Wintering site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Overlaps with Nonbreeding LUC, but some swans - Cygnus buccinator in particular - have distinct wintering and staging areas. For these, evidence of past or present recurring presence of flocks of nonbreeding birds, and potential recurring presence at a given location. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season and habitat; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Barriers: None
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Date: 07Aug2017
Author: Ormes, M.
Notes: Created at request of NE; needs review by zoologist.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Mar2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Lombard, K., L. Kashinsky, Zevin, G. Hammerson, S. Cannings, and M. Laut
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 27Apr2004

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1993. Thirty-ninth supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 110:675-82.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.

  • Banko, P. C., J. M. Black, and W. E. Banko. 1999. Hawaiian Goose (BRANTA SANDVICENSIS). In A. Poole and F. Gill (editors). The Birds of North America, No. 434. The Birds of North America, Inc. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 32 pp.

  • Berger, A. J. 1981. Hawaiian Birdlife. Second Edition. University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii. xv + 260 pp.

  • Black, J. M., F. Duvall, H. Hoshide, J. Medeiros, C. N. Hodges, N. Santos, and T. Telfer. 1991. The current status of the Hawaiian goose Branta sandvicensis and its recovery programme. Wildfowl 42:149-154.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1992. Birds in Jeopardy: the Imperiled and Extinct Birds of the United States and Canada, Including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. 259 pp.

  • Glazener, W. C. 1946. Food habits of wild geese on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Journal of Wildlife Management 10:322-329.

  • Hammond, M. C., and G. E. Mann. 1956. Waterfowl nesting islands. Journal of Wildlife Management 20:345-352.

  • Hawaii Audubon Society. 1993. Hawaii's birds. Hawaii Audubon Society.

  • Hughes, R. J., A. Reed, and G. Gauthier. 1994. Space and habitat use by Greater Snoow Goose broods on Bylot Island, Northwest Territories. Journal of Wildlife Management 58:536-545.

  • Kear, J., and A. J. Berger. 1980. The Hawaiian goose: an experiment in conservation. Buteo Books, Vermillion, South Dakota. 154 pp.

  • King, W. B., compiler. 1979. Endangered birds of the world. The International Council for Bird Preservation. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. [Reprinted in handbook form in 1981.]

  • Matthews, J.R. and C.J. Moseley (eds.). 1990. The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America. Volume 1. Plants, Mammals. xxiii + pp 1-560 + 33 pp. appendix + 6 pp. glossary + 16 pp. index. Volume 2. Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fishes, Mussels, Crustaceans, Snails, Insects, and Arachnids. xiii + pp. 561-1180. Beacham Publications, Inc., Washington, D.C.

  • Palmer, R. S., editor. 1976. Handbook of North American birds. Vol. 2. Waterfowl (first part). Whistling ducks, swans, geese, sheld-ducks, dabbling ducks. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven. 521 pp.

  • Paxinos, E. 1998. Prehistoric anseriform diversity in the Hawaiian Islands: a molecular perspective from the analysis of subfossil DNA. Ph.D. diss., Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.

  • Pratt, H. D., P. L. Bruner, and D. G. Berrett. 1987. A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 409 pp. + 45 plates.

  • Quinn, T. W., G. F. Shields, and A. C. Wilson. 1991. Affinities of the Hawaiian goose based on two types of mitochondrial DNA data. Auk 108:585-593.

  • Rave, E. H. 1995. Genetic analysis of wild populations of Hawaiian geese using DNA fingerprinting. Condor 97:82-90.

  • Scott, J. M., C. B. Kepler, C. van Riper, and S. I. Fefer. 1988. Conservation of Hawaii's vanishing avifauna. BioScience 38:238-253. Scott, J. M., et al. 1988. Conservation of Hawaii's vanishing avifauna. BioScience 38:238-253.

  • Scott, J. M., S. Mountainspring, F. L. Ramsey and C. B. Kepler. 1986. Forest bird communities of the Hawaiian Islands: their dynamics, ecology and conservation. Studies in Avian Biology No. 9. Cooper Ornithological Society. Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas. 431 pp.

  • Scott, J. M., and C. B. Kepler. 1985. Distribution and abundance of Hawaiian native birds: a status report. Pages 43-70 in Temple, S. A. (editor). Bird Conservation 2. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin. 181 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1967. Native fish and wildlife: endangered species. Federal Register 32(48):4001.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program: report to Congress. 406 pp.

  • Williams, C. S., and C. A. Sooter. 1941. Canada Goose habitats in Utah and Oregon. Transactions of the North American Wildlife Conference 5:383-387.

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