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April 26, 2011
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Crested Moa by lemurkat Crested Moa by lemurkat
One of the advantages of illustrating extinct animals is you can make them any colour you like.

This hen is a crested moa, this robust species favoured highly altitude, particularly montane forest. Her skull has a lot of small pits in it, suggesting the presence of a crest.

Moas were a large species of ratite, beaten only in size by the elephant bird of Madagascar. The dominant large herbivore of New Zealand, they fulfilled a similar niche to deer and giraffes, browsing on leaves and munching up twigs and probaby fruit and flowers as well. They asre the only bird to have completely lost their wing bones - not even a vestigal bone remains.

For a bird that has never been seen by Europeans, the ecology of the moa is not unknown, through studying bones, gizzards and feathers many theories can be devised about their behaviour. They were a long-lived and slow-breeding species, probably not reaching maturity until around 10 years old. Egg shells found have been predominently white, with a few bluish-green ones from the Upland Moa. I have taken creative licence here - as I have with the colouring. By studying their tracheal rings, scientists have comcluded that the moa had a deep, resonant call that would travel long distances.

Feathers have been found in a range of colours - red-brown, white, cream and even purple.

Before the humans came to New Zealand, the only predator of these massive birds was the Haast's eagle - the largest raptor ever to have lived. Within 100 years of the Maori arriving on Aotearoa the moa had been hunted well towards extinction and the Haast's eagle died along with it. By the time Europeans arrived they were nothing but a memory.
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:icontigerhunter127:
Tigerhunter127 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  New member
it looks like a giant hoatzin but the colour thing is true
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:icongamerguy495:
Gamerguy495 Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
absolutely beautiful work, really smoth coloration and deatil on the feathers! its nice to see some of the smaller species of moa represented because they all tend to be overshadowed by the two giants
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:iconsaint-walker:
Saint-Walker Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012
Really nice drawing, you captured a lot of the warmth of its plumage
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:iconlemurkat:
lemurkat Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconbrookcresent:
Brookcresent Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
nice rendition of them :)
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:iconmasonday:
masonday Featured By Owner May 17, 2011
Cool!!!!!!!!!!
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