South Island giant moa

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South Island giant moa
Dinornis robustus, South Island Giant Moa - three quarter view on black YORYM 2004 20.jpg
Scientific classification
D. robustus

(Owen, 1846) Bunce et al. 2003[1]
Binomial name
Dinornis robustus
(Owen, 1846)

The South Island giant moa (Dinornis robustus) is a member of the moa family. It was a ratite and a member of the order Dinornithiformes. The Dinornithiformes are flightless birds with a sternum without a keel. They also have a distinctive palate. The origin of these birds is becoming clearer as it is now believed that early ancestors of these birds were able to fly and flew to the southern areas in which they have been found.[2]

The South Island giant moa was the biggest of them all. Adult females stood up to 2 metres (6 ft 6 in) high at the back, and could reach foliage up to 3.6 metres (11 ft 10 in) off the ground, making them the tallest bird species known.[2][3]


It lived in the South Island of New Zealand, and its habitat was the lowlands (shrubland, duneland, grassland, and forests).[2] Along with members of the moa family, the South Island giant moa went extinct due to predation from humans in the centuries following human colonization. [4]


  1. ^ Checklist Committee Ornithological Society of New Zealand (2010). "Checklist-of-Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands and the Ross Dependency Antarctica" (PDF). Te Papa Press. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Davies, S. J. J. F. (2003)
  3. ^ Szabo, M.J. 2013. South Island giant moa. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online.
  4. ^ Perry, George L.W.; Wheeler, Andrew B.; Wood, Jamie R.; Wilmshurst, Janet M. (2014-12-01). "A high-precision chronology for the rapid extinction of New Zealand moa (Aves, Dinornithiformes)". Quaternary Science Reviews. 105: 126–135. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.09.025. Retrieved 2014-12-22.


Szabo, M.J. 2013. South Island giant moa. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online.

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