Kiwi Wings: Get to Know the State Bird of Hawaii

The state bird of Hawaii is known as the Nene, or Hawaiian Goose. It is a unique species that can only be found in the Hawaiian Islands and was designated as Hawaii’s official state bird in 1957.

Characteristics of the Nene

The Nene is a medium-sized goose, with males weighing up to five pounds and females being slightly smaller. They have dark gray-brown feathers, black bills and feet, and distinctive white cheek patches. Juvenile birds look similar to adults but are more brownish-gray in coloration.

Unlike other geese species that migrate for winter breeding grounds, Nenes stay in Hawaii year-round. They are herbivorous creatures that feed on grasses, berries, seeds, leaves of shrubs and trees.

Historic significance

The nene has always been an important animal to Hawaiians since prehistoric times when it was used for food by early Polynesians who first settled on the islands over 1,500 years ago. Later it became a significant symbol of royalty during ancient Hawaiian society – where only chiefs were allowed to hunt them.

Unfortunately over time their population declined due to hunting pressure as well as habitat destruction caused by invasive plant species brought by humans from around the world.

Endangered status

In fact at one point there were less than 30 individuals left alive! Fortunately conservation efforts have helped bring their numbers back up – although they remain endangered today with only about 3-4 thousand remaining worldwide.

Conservation programs have been instrumental in helping protect these birds through various methods such as predator control measures (e.g., fencing off areas), captive breeding programs aimed at increasing populations size while providing genetic diversity so future generations may continue thriving despite threats posed by human activity like habitat loss which continues unabated across much of its current range!

In Summary:

The Nene holds tremendous cultural and historical significance to the people of Hawaii. Its unique status as an endemic species and official state bird highlights the importance of conservation efforts in protecting endangered wildlife around the world. The story of the Nene serves as a reminder that through our collective actions, we can help save important species from extinction for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.