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Definition of NENE
: an endangered goose (Branta sandvicensis syn. Nesochen sandvicensis) of the Hawaiian Islands that usually inhabits waterless uplands and feeds on berries and vegetation
Illustration of NENE
Origin of NENE
First Known Use: 1902
Species (Branta sandvicensis) of goose, the state bird of Hawaii. A close relative of the Canada goose, the nene is a nonmigratory, nonaquatic species with shortened wings and half-webbed feet. It is about 25 in. (65 cm) long and has a gray-brown barred body and black face. It feeds on berries and grasses on high lava slopes. Predation by introduced mammals (including dogs, cats, pigs, and mongooses) and human hunting had reduced the population to a few small flocks by 1911. It has since been successfully bred in captivity, but flocks released in the wild have failed to form self-sustaining colonies.