New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1989) 12(s): 51- 56

Moa Browsing—Evidence from the Pyramid Valley Mire

Research Article
Colin J. Burrows  
  1. Department of Plant and Microbial Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Large and medium-sized moa were trapped in soft calcareous sediments in Pyramid Valley mire at various times within the last 4 millennia. Before about 1800 yr B.P. any trapped birds must either have been wading in a shallow lake, or walking on its dry bed, just before being mired. Later, some birds were probably trapped while traversing a Carex secta Ð Phormium tenax swamp. Gizzard contents include large quantities of twigs of shrub and tree species which, characteristically, do not occur on mires and could not have been reached by trapped birds. The moa must have browsed within forest and along its margins before venturing onto the mire.