Birds by Name – N
The Nene, also known as the Nēnē and Hawaiian Goose, Branta sandvicensis, is a species of goose endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. It evolved from the Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, which is thought to have migrated to the Hawaiian islands around half a million years ago.
The Nene is a threatened species, numbers dropping from an estimated 25,000 in 1778 to around 30 specimens in 1952. Fortunately, it breeds well in captivity and was reintroduced in 2004. There are now thought to be around 800 birds in the wild and about 1,000 in zoos, wildfowl collections and reserves.
Adult males, which grow to a height of around 41 centimetres, have a black head and hindneck, buff cheeks and heavily furrowed neck. The neck has black and white diagonal stripes. Apart from being smaller, the female Nene is similar to the male in colour. The adult’s bill, legs and feet are black.
The Nene eats leaves, seeds, fruit, and flowers of grasses and shrubs.
Species: B. sandvicensis
The Nuthatch, Sitta europaea, is a small passerine bird belonging to the family Sittidae. They have relatively large heads, short tails, and powerful bills and feet.
It is blue-grey above, whitish below and with chestnut brown on its sides and under its tail. It has a black stripe on its head, a long black pointed bill, and short legs. The Nuthatch nests in holes or crevices.
Nuthatches are omnivorous, eating mostly insects, nuts and seeds.