Dinornis robustus Owen, 1846

South Island giant moa



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Dinornis struthioides Owen, 1844


Conservation Status




South Island, New Zealand


Biology & Ecology










Allentoft, Morten E., Bunce, Michael et al. (2010). Highly skewed sex ratios and biased fossil deposition of moa: ancient DNA provides new insight on New Zealand's extinct megafauna. Quaternary Science Reviews 29(5-6): 753-762. [Abstract]

Allentoft, Morten E., Heller, R., Holdaway, R. N. and Bunce, M. (2015). Ancient DNA microsatellite analyses of the extinct New Zealand giant moa (Dinornis robustus) identify relatives within a single fossil site. Heredity. doi:10.1038/hdy.2015.48 [Abstract]

Allentoft, Morton E., Scofield, R. P., Oskam, C. L.,Hale, M. L., Holdaway, Richard N. and Bunce, M. (2011). A molecular characterization of a newly discovered megafaunal fossil site in North Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 42(4): 241-256.

Allis, T. (1865a). Notice of a nearly complete skeleton of Dinornis; presented by Mr Gibson to the Museum of Yorkshire Philosophical Society.Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society 8: 50-52.

Allis, T. (1865b). Further note on a skeleton of Dinornis robustus, Owen, in the York Museum. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society 8: 140-141.

Anonymous. (1999). Moa Hunt is On. Crypto 2(2): 17.

Attard, M. R. G., Wilson, L. A. B., Worthy, T. H., Scofield, P., Johnston, P., Parr, W. C. H. and Wroe, S. (2016). Moa diet fits the bill: virtual reconstruction incorporating mummified remains and prediction of biomechanical performance in avian giants. Proc. R. Soc. B 283: 20152043.

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.

Bishop, Peter J. (2015). A critical re-evaluation of the hindlimb myology of moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum - Nature 59: 187-246. [automatic download]

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.

Dallas, W. S. (1865a). On the feathers of Dinornis robustus, Owen, a skeleton in the Yorkshire Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London for (3) 5: 265-268.

Dallas, W. S. 1865b. On the feathers of Dinornis robustus. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (3) 16:66-69. PDF (No direct access outside the US) 

Dallas, W. S. 1865c. Note sur les plumes de Dinornis rubustus (Extr.). Annales des Sciences Naturelles (Zool. Paléont.) (5) 4: 292.

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.

Hume, Julian Pender and Walters, Michael. (2012). Extinct Birds. London: T & AD Poyser.

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.

Oskam, Charlotte L. et al. (2010). Fossil avian eggshell preserves ancient DNA. Proc. R. Soc. B DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.2019

Oskam, Charlotte L. et al. (2012). Ancient DNA analyses of early archaeological sites in New Zealand reveal extreme exploitation of moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes) at all life stages. Quaternary Science Reviews 52: 41-48. [Abstract]

Owen, Richard. (1866). On Dinornis (part IX): containing a description of the skull, atlas, and scapulo-coracoid bone of Dinornis robustus. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 5: 337-358.

Owen, Richard. (1869). On Dinornis (Part XI): containing a description of the integument of the sole, and tendons of a toe, of the foot of Dinornis robustus, Owen. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 6: 495-496.

Rawlence, Nicolas J. et al. (2009). DNA content and distribution in ancient feathers and potential to reconstruct the plumage of extinct avian taxa. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B  276(1672): 3395-3402.

Rawlence, N. J., Wood, J. R., Scofield, R. P., Fraser, C. and Tennyson, Alan J. D. (2012). Soft-tissue specimens from pre-European extinct birds of New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand iFirst 2012: 1-28.

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.

Wood, Jamie R. (2007). Moa gizzard content analyses: further information on the diets of Dinornis robustus and Emeus crassus, and the first evidence for the diet of Pachyornis elephantopus (Aves: Dinornithiformes). Records of the Canterbury Museum 21: 27-39.

Wood, Jamie R., Rawlence, Nicolas J., Rogers, Geoffrey M., Austin, Jeremy J., Worthy, Trevor H. and Cooper, Alan. (2008). Coprolite deposits reveal the diet and ecology of the extinct New Zealand megaherbivore moa (Aves, Dinornithiformes). Quaternary Science Reviews 27(27-28): 2593-2602.

Wood, Jamie R. (2009). Two Late Quaternary avifaunal assemblages from the Dunback district, eastern Otago, South Island, New Zealand. Notornis 56: 154-157.

Wood, Jamie R., Wilmshurst, J. M., Rawlence, N. J., Bonner, K. I., Worthy, Trevor H. et al. (2013). A Megafauna’s Microfauna: Gastrointestinal Parasites of New Zealand’s Extinct Moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes). PLoS ONE 8(2): e57315.

Wood, J. R., Janet M. Wilmshurst, Sarah J. Richardson, Nicolas J. Rawlence, Steven J. Wagstaff, Trevor H. Worthy and Alan Cooper. (2013). Resolving lost herbivore community structure usingcoprolites of four sympatric moa species (Aves: Dinornithiformes). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(42): 16910-16915.

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

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.

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

Zinoviev, Andrei V. (2012). Notes on pelvic and hindlimb myology and syndesmology of Emeus crassus and Dinornis robustus (Aves: Dinornithiformes), pp. 32. In: Worthy, Trevor H. and Göhlich, Ursula B. (eds.). 8th International Meeting of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution, Abstracts.

Zinoviev, A. V. (2013). Notes on the pelvic musculature of Emeus crassus and Dinornis robustus (Aves: Dinornithiformes). Paleontological Journal 47(11): 1245-1251. [Abstract]




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