Any of 13–25 species of extinct ratite of New Zealand constituting the order Dinornithiformes. Species ranged from turkey-sized to 10 ft (3 m) high. Moas were swift runners that defended themselves by kicking. They were hunted for their flesh (eaten as food), bones (used as weapons and ornaments), and eggs (used for water vessels). The larger moas were probably extinct by the late 17th century; a few smaller species may have survived into the 19th century. Moas browsed and grazed on seeds, fruits, leaves, and grasses. They laid a single large egg in a hollow in the ground.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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