Image for Giants of New Zealand

Giants of New Zealand

Duration: 02:48

The huge bones of herbivores have been discovered in a New Zealand forest and found to be bird bones. A skeleton is graphically reconstructed to show that it had three toes and an extraordinarily long neck, and stood over 2m tall. The first human settlers named these giants moas, and they included the tallest birds ever, which weighed 200kg. There were a dozen species including smaller moorland ones with thicker feathers. There were no mammal predators in New Zealand at the time, but the moas were hunted by another bird - the New Zealand giant eagle. It was immense and had talons big enough to stab through a moa's flesh. The moas survived for a million years, until people arrived and hunted them to extinction.

Available since: Fri 15 Oct 2010

This clip is from

The Life of Birds To Fly or Not to Fly?

1/10 Looking at the period when dinosaurs developed feathers and took to the air.

First broadcast: 11 Jun 2007

Image for To Fly or Not to Fly? Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

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