extinct order of birds

The moa were large, herbivores and were flightless birds with no wings. They lived only in New Zealand, and are now all extinct.

An illustration of moas being hunted, by Heinrich Harder. Actually, the Maori did not have bows and arrows
Comparison of a kiwi, ostrich, and Dinornis, each with its egg

There were nine species (in six genera) of Moa.[1] The largest and best known were the genus Dinornis, which grew up to 3.6 meters (12 feet) tall, and weighed as much as 230 kilograms (510 pounds).

The Māori people arrived in New Zealand from Oceania about 800 years ago. Then, moas lived in large numbers, especially on South Island. Archaeological sites with evidence of moa hunting are all over New Zealand. The moas became extinct about five hundred years ago.[2] The moas had survived being hunted by Haast's eagle. However, they could not survive being hunted for food by the Maori.

Recent extinctions (also mostly birds) have been caused by habitat change and introduced species.

Large birds



  1. Ornithological Society of New Zealand: New Zealand recognised bird names (NZRBN) database [1]
  2. Martin P.S. and Klein R.G. (eds) Quaternary extinctions: a prehistoric revolution. University of Arizona Press, Tucson AZ.