Branta rhuax Wetmore, 1943

Giant Hawaiian goose



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Geochen rhuax Wetmore, 1943; "undescribed large Hawai'i goose"


Conservation Status


Last record: Holocene (c. 1500 AD?)



Hawaii, Hawaiian Islands, USA


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: USNM 16740

Type locality: "water supply tunnel 1000 feet east of the shoulder of Kaumaikeohu, above Pahala, Island of Hawaii".






Original scientific description:

Wetmore, Alexander. (1943). An extinct goose from the island of Hawaii. Condor 45(4): 146-148.


Other references:

Giffin, Jon G. (1993). New species of fossil birds  found at Pu'u Wa'awa'a. Elepaio 53(1): 1-3.

Giffin, Jon G. (2003). Pu’u Wa’awa’a Biological Assessment. Pu’u Wa’awa’a, North Kona, Hawaii. Report, State of Hawaii, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Olson, Storrs L. (2013). Hawaii's first fossil bird: history, geological age, and taxonomic status of the extinct goose Geochen rhuax Wetmore (Aves: Anatidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 126(2): 161–168. [Abstract]

Olson, Storrs L. and James, Helen F. (1982). Prodromus of the Fossil Avifauna of the Hawaiian Islands. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 365: 1-59.

Olson, Storrs L. and James, H. F. (1984). The role of Polynesians in the extinction of the avifauna of the Hawaiian islands, pp. 768-780. In: Martin, P. S. and Klein, R. G. (eds.). Quaternary Extinctions: a Prehistoric Revolution. Tuscon, Arizona: University of Arizona Press.

Olson, Storrs L. and James, H. F. (1991). Descriptions of thirty-two new species of birds from the Hawaiian Islands: Part I. Non-Passeriformes. Ornithological Monographs 45: 1-88.

Paxinos, E. E. et al. (2002). MtDNA from fossils reveals a radiation of Hawaiian geese recently derived from the Canada Goose. PNAS 99: 1399-1404.

Watanabe, Junya. (2017). Quantitative discrimination of flightlessness in fossil Anatidae from skeletal proportions. The Auk 134(3): 672-695.

Young, H. Glyn, Tonge, Simon J. and Hume, Julian Pender. (1996). Review of Holocene wildfowl extinctions. Wildfowl 47: 167-181.


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