Branta hylobadistes Olson & James 

Great Nene (Branta hylobadistes)

The Great Nene was described in 1991 based on subfossil bones found on the island of Maui (it may also have lived at least on the neighboring islands of Lana’i and Moloka’i). 

The extinct species was slightly larger than the Hawaiian Nene (Branta sandvicensis (Vigors)) (see photo below) but was otherwise quite identical to that species.


Some of the bones, that are assigned to this species, come from individuals that were still volant while others appear to have been flightless. [1]


Hawaii Geese (Branta sandvicensis)  

Photo: Kim Starr & Forest Starr; by courtesy of Kim Starr & Forest Starr



[1] S. L. Olson; H. F. James: Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part I. Non-Passeriformes. Ornithological Monographs 45: 1-91. 1991  


edited: 05.05.2022