Moa Facts

Moa Facts
Moa was large, flightless bird that lived on New Zealand until 1400 years AD. There were around 11 species of moa, some of which appeared on the planet 2.4 million years ago. Moa had lived in the forests, scrublands, grasslands or subalpine habitats (depending on the species). These birds were numerous and widespread on New Zealand until the arrival of Maori (indigenous Polynesian people) around 1000 years ago. As a result of intense habitat destruction, uncontrolled collecting of eggs and killing of moa (for meat and manufacture of harpoon heads, fish hooks, jewelry and clothing), moa became extinct around 200 years after the arrival of first people. Introduction of new species of predators, such as dogs and rats, have additionally accelerated decrease in number of eggs and birds in the wild.
Interesting Moa Facts:
Moa was able to reach 12 feet in height and up to 550 pounds of weight. It was one of the tallest birds that ever lived on the planet. Females were taller and heavier than males.
Moa was covered with rough feathers that was brown or black in color.
Name "moa" is Polynesian word for fowl.
Moa was ostrich-like bird with small head, stout, triangular beak, long neck, large body and strong legs.
Mao had very long neck that was probably held in horizontal position (even though it is often portrayed upright to emphasize its length).
Moa didn't have wings (not even rudimentary wings that are typical for modern flightless birds) and it wasn't able fly.
Moa was ground-dwelling bird that was able to run very fast.
Moa was a herbivore. Its diet was based mostly on the ferns, fibrous twigs and leaves.
Aside from tough vegetation, moa had to consume smooth stones and pebbles regularly to facilitate digestion of food.
Haast's eagle and humans were the only natural enemies of moa. Haast's eagle became extinct shortly after disappearance of moa (due to lack of food).
Moa had used its strong legs to defend itself against predators.
Moa had very long trachea covered with tracheal rings, that looped inside the body cavity. Similar structure in modern birds is associated with deep, resonating calls that can be heard from a large distances.
Around 30 intact moa eggs have been discovered so far. Most species of moa had white eggs with slit-shaped pores on the surface (or bluish-green eggs in the case of upland moa). Moa had nested on the ground during the spring and summer.
Moa became extinct before the arrival of the first European settlers (during the 18th century). Due to lack of written Maori language, story of moa was revealed after discovery of fossils on New Zealand.
Some fossils of moa have been found with well-preserved muscles and feathers (birds that have died in dry conditions in the caves).

Related Links:
Extinct Animals Facts
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