Although New Zealand is remarkable today for its flightless kiwis, in the past, much larger flightless birds known as moas once lived there. Moas may have become extinct as long as 600 years ago.
There were once about 15 species of moa, all of which lived in New Zealand. Their extinction can be attributed to hunting, removal of eggs from nests, and habitat destruction through the clearing of lowland forest.
Depending on the species, moas ranged in size from that of a turkey to about 3 m (10 ft.) in height. Flightless, they all lacked wings. The birds ate leaves, twigs and fruit. Moas were named with the Polynesian word for fowl.