Pachyornis elephantopus Owen, 1856

Heavy-footed moa



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Dinornis queenslandiae De Vis, 1884


Conservation Status

Last record: Holocene



South Island, New Zealand


Biology & Ecology










Alexander, R. M. (1983). On the massive legs of a moa (Pachyornis elephantopus, Dinornithes). Journal of Zoology (London) 201(3): 363-376. [Abstract]

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, Morton E., Schuster, S., Holdaway, Richard N., Hale, M. L. and McLay, E. (2009). Identification of microsatellites from an extinct moa species using high throughput (454) sequence data. Biotechniques 46(3): 195-200.

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

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]

De Vis, Charles W. (1884). The moa (Dinornis) in Australia. Proc. R. Soc. Qld 1: 23-28.

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.

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

Hutton, F. W. (1893). On Dinornis (?) queenslandiae. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 8(2): 7-10.

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

Miller, Alden H. (1963). Fossil ratite birds of the late Tertiary of South Australia. Rec. S. Aust. Mus. 14(3): 413-420.

Owen, Richard. On Dinornis (part 13): containing a description of the sternum in Diornis elephantopus and D. rheides... pp. 115-122, plates 7-9.

Rawlence, N. J. et al. (2012). The effect of climate and environmental change on the megafaunal moa of New Zealand in the absence of humans. Quaternary Science Reviews 50: 141-153. [Abstract]

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.

Scarlett, Ron J. (1968). A second North Island locality for Pachyornis elephantopus. Notornis 15(1): 36.

Scarlett, Ron J. (1969). On the alleged Queensland moa, Dinornis queenslandiae De Vis. Mem. Qld. Mus. 15(3): 207-212.

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

Trotter, M. M. (1965). Avian remains from North Otago archaeological sites. Notornis 12(3): 176-178.

Williams, P. (1980). Metro cave. A survey of scientific and scenic resources. Report to N.Z. Forest Service.

Wilson, G. (1969). Some avian remains—South Island. New Zealand Speleological Bulletin 4(69): 251-254.

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, J. R. and Wilmshurst, J. M. (2013). Pollen analysis of coprolites reveals dietary details of heavy-footed moa (Pachyornis elephantopus) and coastal moa (Euryapteryx curtus) from Central Otago. N. Z. J. Ecol. 37(1): 151-155. [this article was available online before print in 2012, but was published in 2013]

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. (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. (1993a). Submarine fossil moa bones from the northern South Island. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 23(3): 255-256.

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

Worthy, Trevor H. (1994). 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. (1998). 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, 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. (1996). Quaternary fossil faunas, overlapping taphonomies, and palaeofaunal reconstruction in North Canterbury, South Island New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 26(3): 275-361.


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