Giant moa in dense forest


Moas were unique among flightless birds, having lost any trace that they once had wings. Not even tiny wing bones or a wishbone were left. As well as bones, mummified moas and well preserved feathers have been found. The moa became extinct when people discovered and colonised New Zealand in the 13th century and began to hunt them. Fragments have been found at many sites, including prehistoric Maori settlements, where the eggs had been cooked and eaten. Related to the ostriches and emus, there were 11 species of moa, from the turkey-sized Euryapteryx curtus to the huge Dinornis giganteus.

Scientific name: Dinornithidae

Rank: Family

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The following habitats are found across the Moas distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Broadleaf forest Broadleaf forest
Broadleaf forests are the dominant habitat of the UK and most of temperate northern Europe. There's little left of Britain's ancient wildwood, but isolated pockets of oak, beech and mixed deciduous and evergreen woodlands are scattered across the continent, and dictate its biodiversity.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

What their world was like

Ice age Ice age
The last ice age hasn't ended, the climate has just warmed up a bit causing the ice sheets to retreat. When the ice was more extensive, our climate was very different.

BBC News about Moas