Nēnē Research & Conservation

Did you see a banded Nene?

Be respectful when taking photos of Nēnē.

Collecting photo-identification data from banded nēnē is a non-invasive and respectful way to research this species. This method involves taking photos of the nēnē from a distance making sure to capture clear photos of the bands on their legs. This may involve using a telephoto lens to capture photos of the nene from a distance or using binoculars and writing down the band numbers separately. Nēnē are protected by State and Federal law so it is vital that you do not closely approach and disturb them. We recommend following local rules and regulations when photographing nēnē which includes staying at least 60 feet away in National Parks.

Hawaiʻi Endangered Species RuleIt is illegal to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect nene, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. 

Migratory Bird Treaty ActUnder Section 703, nēnē are protected from harassment, which is defined as an intentional or negligent act or omission that significantly disrupts the normal behavioral patterns of the bird, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering, and creates a likelihood of injury or harm.

What we can learn from these bands?

Nēnē in Hawaiʻi can have two types of leg bands: a small metal United States Geological Survey (USGS) band and a larger, colored Darvic (AUX) band with a unique 2-3 alphanumeric code, along with band/text color combinations. From a photo of a banded nēnē, we can determine where and when that nēnē was banded and whether anyone else has reported it to us. Our survey protocol requires photographing both bands to confirm that the AUX band code matches the USGS band record. We build confidence models based on the quality of the photographs we take and contributions from the community, enhancing our ability to accurately track this dispersed population.

Original, unedited images are most effective for our machine-learning models. We will not publicly post or share any submitted images without consent from the copyright holder.

What do the different band colors mean?

Band colors generally refer to the location (island) where the nene was banded. 

Kauaʻi

Blue
Orange
Yellow

Maui

Yellow
Gray

Hawaiʻi 

Gray/White
Red
Green
Yellow