Moa (Extinct)

Dinornis maximus

Moas have been extinct from the island of New Zealand since the 19th century, at the latest. There were around 24 species, ranging in size from that of a turkey, up to Dinornis maximus, which may have reached up to 4 meters in height. That would make it the tallest bird, rivaled only by the Elephant Bird of Madagascar (also extinct). Moas had feathers of probably metallic blue color, but lacked even the rudiments of wings. Many pieces of their thick-shelled eggs and a few whole eggs have been found, one containing a large embryo. Moas became extinct probably because they were hunted by the Maori, the native inhabitants of New Zealand, or because of loss of their habitat, or both.

The above picture was taken at the Smithsonian Museum, in Washington DC, August 2002.

Family Dinornithidae
Order Struthioniformes
Class Aves
Subphylum Vertebrata
Phylum Chordata
Kingdom Animalia
Life on Earth