Definition of moa in English:



  • A large extinct flightless bird resembling the emu, formerly found in New Zealand.

    Family Dinornithidae: several genera and species; Dinornis maximus is the tallest known bird at over 3 m, but Megalapteryx didinus, which may have survived until the early 19th century, was much smaller

    • ‘Ostriches, emus, cassowaries, rheas, kiwis, moas and elephant birds really are more closely related to each other than they are to any other birds.’
    • ‘Other ratites, the elephant bird of Madagascar and the moas of New Zealand, have been extinct for several centuries, probably as a result of human hunting.’
    • ‘Owen also identified New Zealand's giant flightless bird, the moa or dinornis, from a piece of shin just 15 cm long.’
    • ‘Some 200 pebbles, collectively weighing 2.5 kg were recovered from the gut region of a moa skeleton (extinct large flightless bird) in New Zealand.’
    • ‘The large, flightless moa bird that roamed New Zealand in ancient times grew much more slowly than modern birds, according to a new study of their bones.’


Mid 19th century from Maori.