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MOA EAGLES ATE



Greg Paul asked about the moa-eating habits of New Zealand's giant 
eagle _Harpagornis_ (AKA Haast's eagle). Here is the addendum to my 
previous email on this subject.

Dug out an old email from Richard Holdaway. Specifically, the moa 
species that seem to have been preyed upon by _Harpagornis_ are 
_Emeus crassus_, _Pachyornis elephantopus_ and __Euryapteryx 
geranoides_. Like I said before, Holdaway also has a _Dinornis 
giganteus_ specimen which bears signs of _Harpagornis_ attack. 

Incidentally, though I suggested previously that the eagle may have 
preyed upon the two SMALLER _Pachyornis_ species, _P. elephantopus_ 
is actually the biggest of the three - at an estimated mass of 250 
kg, it's the heaviest of all the moa (presuming, that is, that 
current moa mass estimates are correct and not inflated - Greg, have 
you done modelling work on these birds?).

Finally, note that Holdaway proposed a specific mode of attack 
style (or rather, a typical accipitrid mode of attack) for 
_Harpagornis_: one foot would secure the rump, while the other would 
strike the base of the neck. Previously published restorations of 
_Harpagornis_ striking at moa heads are not presently thought to be 
accurate.

"Assault weapons have gotten a lot of bad press lately, but they're 
weapons manufactured for a _reason_: to take out today's modern 
*SUPER* animals, such as the 'flying squirrel.... and the 'electric 
eel'!"

DARREN NAISH
darren.naish@port.ac.uk