moa skulls

The Crested Moa weighed about 75 kilo and lived in cold wet montane and subalpine regions in the South Island. It was the dominant species in the far north and far south of the South Island.

The Crested Moa was a massive squat bird but was more lightly built than the truly massive Heavy–footed Moa.

This bird had feather pits in the skull which has led us to the notion that it was crested. These pits are only occasionally present on the crania of Dinornis, Anomalopteryx, and other Pachyornis species. Feather pits are absent on the crania of emeids, the Stout-legged Moa, the Coastal Moa and the Eastern Moa.

A Maori tradition, quoted by Dr. G.A. Mantell, states that the head and tail feathers of Moa were adorned with plumes of feathers which were worn by chiefs as ornaments of distinction.

Moa neck
Sub Species:

Other common names:  — 

Description:  — 

Extinct bird

75 kilo.

Poetry:  — 

Ka ngaro a moa te iwi nei.

This tribe will become extinct like the moa.

Illustration description: — 


Transactions of the NZ Institute, Volume 24, 1891.

Transactions of the NZ Institute, Volume 4, 1871.

Reference(s): — 


Worthy, Trevor H., & Holdaway, Richard N., The Lost World of the Moa, 2002.

Oliver, W.R.B. New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Page date & version: — 


Thursday, 21 October, 2010; ver2009v1


©  2005    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.