Males and females are similar in size and markings. The Nene's calls include a muted 'moo' and a loud 'haw'. The breeding season, which is perhaps the longest breeding season of all gooses, extends from November until June with incubation lasting 30 days and the chicks fledging after 10 to 12 weeks. This extended breeding season contributes to the Nene's susceptibility to introduced predators, with mongooses, feral cats and dogs often feeding on Nene eggs and young.
It is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, and its population has recovered from a low of around 30 to around 3,000, largely thanks to captive breeding programmes.