There are nine different species of Mao in New Zealand. They were very tall animals. The most abundant species was 12 feet tall. Its weight was 500 pounds. However, some species were about the size of today’s ratifies. You can see the long necks and long legs of Mao. However, researchers believe they walked with their necks in front of them. This group of birds had been in existence since the Cretaceous period.
Interesting Facts about the Moa
These animals were very popular thousands of years ago. Further, they died thousands of years ago. The researchers know the different fun facts about these animals. If you are interested to know some interesting facts about the Mao, then this is the best article for you as we are discussing some fun facts about the Mao.
1. Habitat of the Moa
The different Mao lived in diverse ecosystems and habitats. Some species lived in shrubland while other animals lived in beech forests and coastal regions. They lived at both sea levels. They also lived in mountain regions. The habitat of some species was the rain forest.
2. Distribution of the Moa
All of these species of birds lived on the island of New Zealand. The Bush Crested, Heavy-footed and Eastern, and Upload Mao lived in South Island. However, some species were living on North Island while Coastal Mao has inhabited both North and South Island. Each species had its unique distributions.
3. Curious Cousins
We can see different birds today, and they seem to relate to extinct birds closely. Their appearance is similar to those animals. You can see the example of Kiwis that have the same shape as the Mao. Moreover, the Mao and Kiwis both live in New Zealand. Many scientists have compared their genetic material. They found that Mao is closely related to the tinamous of South America.
4. Moa and Human Interaction
Humans used to hunt these birds. The Maori people or native people of New Zealand migrated to the island around the year of 1300. They hunted the various Mao species. They destroyed the habitats to create a village. It looks less than 150 years for humans to cause them to become extinct. The people also killed the Haast’s eagle, which fed exclusively on these animals.
The moa population was about 58,000. Mao is a group of flightless birds as they lack the vestiges of wing bones.
Mao filled the ecological niche that is occupied in any country. Some biologists contented that many plant species evolved to avoid the antelopes. Some biologists have contended that many plant species have evolved to prevent Moa browsing. Divaracating plants like Pennantia corymbosa may evolve in such a way as they have small leaves.
Some Moa swallowed gizzard stones which are retained in their muscular gizzards. These can provide the grinding action to allow eating coarse plant material. These stones may be rounded quartz pebbles. These birds contained several kilograms of stones.
5. Slow Going
Some species of these birds were huge. They took a long time to get that size. These species depended upon the other species. Most of the species did not reach their full size for three years.
The growth of these animals was very slow as they were unable to meet to reach for sexual maturity. They took a long time for the new generation. Due to hunting practices in New Zealand, they were unable to maintain their new population. The research shows that hunting drove them to extinction.
6. The behavior of the Moa
As they went extinct early, so no scientist has studied the Living Moa. Some people infer that they were terrestrial birds. They tended to live on the ground. They spent their time roaming in search of food. It was also difficult to find their nests.
7. Diet of the Moa
Scientists have researched to know the diet of these animals. They believe that Moa was herbivorous and fed on plant matter. They used to eat the leaves and twigs. They had sharp beaks that worked like a pair of shears to snip off their choice of leaves and branches.
These birds never lived in a Zoo. It is difficult to know the care of these animals. However, the care of these animals varied from species to species.
9. Truly Wingless
All living flightless birds like emus, rheas, kiwis, and cassowaries have some form of wings. Some birds have vestigial wings, while some birds have small remnants of wings. They have different functions. Moa had no wings before their extinction. They had not a single wing bone.
10. Reproduction of the Moa
No one knows about the breeding strategies of these birds. No researcher has studied Mao for reproduction behavior. However, scientists with the help of different research can know that Mao only laid a single egg per season.
However, fragments of eggshells are encountered in archaeological sites. Thirty-six moa eggs exist in the museum’s collection and vary greatly in size. The outer surface of Mao eggshells can be characterized by small slit-shaped pores. The eggs of Moa were white.
Mao arrived before 1300 and all Moa genera were driven to extinction by hunting. However, by 1445, these animals had become extinct. These animals lived in New Zealand. They were very large animals. In this article, we have described the 10 interesting facts about the Mao.