\ ˈmō-ə How to pronounce moa (audio) \

Definition of moa

: any of various usually very large extinct flightless birds of New Zealand of a ratite order (Dinornithiformes) including one (Dinornis giganteus of the family Dinornithidae) nearly 12 feet (3.7 meters) in height

Examples of moa in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Not only moa dominated avifaunas, but giant geese and adzebills shared the forest floor, while a giant eagle ruled the skies. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Fossil find reveals that the world's largest parrot was over 3 feet tall," 6 Aug. 2019 These include the world's biggest parrot, a giant eagle, a giant burrowing bat, and the moa, a kind of large flightless bird. Jack Guy, CNN, "A "monster penguin" as big as a human once lived in New Zealand," 14 Aug. 2019 Now, the country’s roster of extinct bulky birds—which includes the massive moa and the huge Haast’s eagle—has grown even larger, with the discovery of a Paleocene-era penguin that stood as tall as a human. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Human-Sized Penguin Once Waddled Through New Zealand," 14 Aug. 2019 New Zealand is believed to have been the site of many gigantic birds that later became extinct, including the world’s largest parrot, a giant eagle and an emu-like bird called the moa. Washington Post, "Scientists say monster penguin once swam New Zealand oceans," 14 Aug. 2019 These include the world’s biggest parrot, a giant eagle, a giant burrowing bat, and the moa, a kind of large flightless bird. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "‘Monster penguin’ as big as a human lived in New Zealand," 14 Aug. 2019 Extinct flightless birds—the moa of New Zealand and the dodo—were favorites, along with the Yangtze River dolphin. Amy Dockser Marcus, WSJ, "Meet the Scientists Bringing Extinct Species Back From the Dead," 9 Oct. 2018 Giant Moa: Avian Skyscraper For millions of years, the giant moa consisted of nine species of ostrichlike flightless birds native to New Zealand. National Geographic, "The Biggest Bird That Ever Lived and 5 More Bird Superstars," 15 May 2018 Educated interpretation Although the coprolites yielded lots of information on the ecosystems surrounding the moa, questions remain. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "DNA from the poop of extinct four-meter-tall birds reveals lost ecosystem," 15 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'moa.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of moa

1839, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for moa


Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about moa

Statistics for moa

Cite this Entry

“Moa.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on moa Encyclopedia article about moa

Comments on moa

What made you want to look up moa? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!