Dinornis novaezealandiae Owen, 1843

North Island giant moa



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Dinornis ingens Owen, 1844; Palapteryx ingens (Owen 1844) Haast 1869; Dinornis gazella Oliver, 1949:166; Dinornis hercules Oliver, 1949:174; Dinornis struthoides Owen, 1844; Dinornis giganteus Owen, 1844; Dinornis torosus Hutton, 1891; Palapteryx plenus Hutton, 1891; Dinornis strenuus Hutton, 1893


Conservation Status




North Island, New Zealand


Biology & Ecology




NMNZ S.107 (pelvis, holotype of Dinornis gazella)

NMNZS.217a (right tibiotarsus, holotype of Dinornis hercules)






Anderson, A. (1989). Prodigious Birds. Moas and Moa-Hunting in New Zealand. Cambridge University Press. 238 pp.

Andrews, C. W. (1899). Note on a nearly complete Skeleton of Dinornis maximus. Geol. Mag. [1899]: 395-397.

Archey, G. (1941). The moa - a study of the Dinornithiformes. Bulletin of the Auckland Institute and Museum 1: 1-119.

Atkinson, I. A. E. and Millener, P. R. (1991). An ornithological glimpse into New Zealand's pre-human past. Acta XX Congressus Internationalis Ornithologici, pp. 127-192.

Baker, Allan J. et al. (2005). Reconstructing the tempo and mode of evolution in an extinct clade of birds with ancient DNA: The giant moas of New Zealand. PNAS 102(23): 8257-8262.

Bunce, M. et al. (2003). Extreme reversed sexual size dimorphism in the extinct New Zealand moa Dinornis. Nature 425(6954): 172-175.

Bunce, M. et al. (2009). The evolutionary history of the extinct ratite moa and New Zealand Neogene Paleogeography. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 106(49): 20646-20651.

Clark, Geoffrey R., Petchey, Peter, McGlone, Matthew S. and Bristow, Peter. (1996). Faunal and Floral Remains from Earnscleugh Cave, Central Otago, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 26(3): 363-380. [Abstract]

Cooper, Alan et al. (2001). Complete mitochondrial genome sequences of two extinct moas clarify ratite evolution. Nature 409(6821): 704-707.

Fuller, Errol. (1988). Extinct Birds. New York: Facts on File Publications. 256 pp.

Göhlich, Ursula B. (2017). Catalogue of the fossil bird holdings of the Bavarian State Collection of Palaeontology and Geology in Munich. Zitteliana 89: 331-349.

Holdaway, Richard N., Worthy, Trevor H. and Tennyson, Alan J. D. (2001). A working list of breeding bird species of the New Zealand region at first human contact. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 28: 119-187.

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Huynen L, Gill BJ, Doyle A, Millar CD, Lambert DM. (2014). Identification, Classification, and Growth of Moa Chicks (Aves: Dinornithiformes) from the Genus Euryapteryx. PLoS ONE 9(6): e99929.

JÄGER, Gustav. (1863). Bericht uber ein fast vollständiges Skelet von Palapteryx Ingens. Wien: Willhelm Braumuller. 12 pp.

Lambrecht K. 1933. Handbuch der Palaeornithologie. Berlin, Verlag Gebrüder Borntraeger, 1024 p.

McCallum, J., Hall, S., Lissone, I., Anderson, J., Huynen, L. and Lambert, D. M. (2013). Highly Informative Ancient DNA ‘Snippets’ for New Zealand Moa. PLoS ONE 8(1): e50732.

Medway, David G. (1971). Sub-fossil avian remains from the Awakino - Mahoenui area. Notornis 18(3): 218-219.

Oliver, W. R. B. (1949). The moas of New Zealand and Australia. Dominion Museum Bulletin 15: 1-206.

Hugh Robertson, John Dowding, Graeme Elliott, Rod Hitchmough, Colin Miskelly, Colin O’Donnell, Ralph Powlesland, Paul Sagar, Paul Scofield, Graeme Taylor. (2013). Conservation status of New Zealand birds, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 4. 22 pp.

Seersholm, Frederik V. et al. (2018). Subsistence practices, past biodiversity, and anthropogenic impacts revealed by New Zealand-wide ancient DNA survey. PNAS. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1803573115 [Supplementary information]

Smith, Ian. (1999). Settlement Permanence and Function at Pleasant River Mouth, East Otago, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Archaeology 19: 27-79. [as Dinornis struthoides]

Tennyson, Alan J. D. and Bartle, J. A. (2008). Catalogue of type specimens of birds in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Tuhinga 19: 185-207.

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Wood, Jamie R. and Wilmhurst, J. M. (2013). Age of North Island giant moa (Dinornis novaezealandiae) bones found on the forest floor in the Ruahine Range. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 43(4): 250-255. [Abstract]

Worthy, Trevor H. (1988). An illustrated key to the main leg bones of moas (Aves: Dinornithiformes). National Museum of N.Z. Misc. Publ. Series No. 17: 1-37.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1989a). Moas of the subalpine zone. Notornis 36: 191-196.

Worthy, T. H. (1989b). An analysis of moa bones (Aves: Dinornithiformes) from three lowland North Island swamp sites: Makirikiri, Riverlands and Takapau Road. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 19: 419-432.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1990). An analysis of the distribution and relative abundance of moa species (Aves: Dinornithiformes). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 17: 213-241.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1991). An overview of the taxonomy, fossil history, biology and extinction of moas. Proceedings of the Twentieth International Ornithologists Congress, Symposium 6: 555-562.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1993). Fossils of Honeycomb Hill. Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington. 56 pp.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1994a). Late Quaternary changes in the moa fauna (Aves; Dinornithiformes) on the West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand. Rec. S. Aust. Mus. 27(2): 125-134.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1994b). Reappraisal of Dinornis (Aves: Dinornithiformes) species—a morphometric analysis. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 21(2): 113-134.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1998a). Fossil avifaunas from Old Neck and Native Island, Stewart Island - Polynesian middens or natural sites? Records of the Canterbury Museum 12(1): 49-82.

Worthy, Trevor H. (1998b). A remarkable fossil and archaeological avifauna from Marfells Beach, Lake Grassmere, South Island, New Zealand. Records of the Canterbury Museum 12(1): 79-176.

WORTHY, T.H., BUNCE, M., COOPER, A. & SCOFIELD, P. 2005. Dinornis- an insular oddity, a taxonomic conundrum reviewed. In: ALcoVER, J.A. & BOVER, P. (eds.): Proceedings of the International Symposium "Insular Vertebrate Evolution: the Palaeontological Approach': Monografies de la Societat d'Història Natural de les Balears, 12: 377-390.

Worthy, Trevor H. and Holdaway, Richard N. (1993). Quaternary fossil faunas from caves in the Punakaiki area, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 23(3): 147-254.

Worthy, T. H. and Holdaway, R. N. (1994). Quaternary fossil faunas from caves in Takaka Valley and on Takaka Hill, northwest Nelson, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of The Royal Society of New Zealand 24(3): 297-391.

Worthy, Trevor H. and Holdaway, Richard N. (2000). Terrestrial fossil vertebrate faunas from inland Hawke's Bay, North Island, New Zealand. Part 1. Records of the Canterbury Museum 14: 89-154.

Worthy, Trevor H. and Holdaway, Richard N. (2002). The Lost World of the Moa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Yaldwyn, J. C. (1959). Name changes in the Moa genus Dinornis. Notornis 8(6): 175.



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