Legends from New Zealand
held that there was a large predator bird, known as pouakai
, that was big enough to carry human beings off to its nest or den. Some people associated stories of Pouakai with the giant flightless Moa
, extinct in 1773
. Others thought it might be another extinct giant bird on the South Island
, Haast's Eagle
). The eagle, locally known as Te Hokioi, has been extinct for 500 years, overlapping with the early settlers
by some 200 years. There was some speculation that the giant eagle was a scavenger due to partially protected nasal openings
, which are benefit to protect nasal cavities when digging into carcasses, analogous to features found on accipitrid vultures
. Recent studies have provide there is proof that the Haast's Eagle was a fearsome predator
, with talons like tigers and the ability to dive on prey at 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph)
Weighing twice as much as the Steller's Sea Eagle
, the heaviest modern eagle at 9 kilograms (20 lb), the Haast's Eagle was the only large predator on the South Island. It's primary prey was most likely the Moa
, the largest of reached about 3.7 m (12 ft) in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about 230 kg (510 lb). Because it is unlikely that even two Haast's Eagles could eat a complete Moa before it went bad, these kills were bounties for smaller predatory birds
, from whom they may have evolved. The absence of mammalian competitors facilitated the evolution of much larger eagles and owls on Cuba and may have likewise precipitated the rapid morphological shift
, with an increase in body size by at least an order of magnitude in less than 2 million years.
Historic myth, fact, and fiction
myth tells of a contest between the hawk and hokioi
. The hawk said it could reach the heavens; the hokioi said it could reach the heavens; there was contention between them. The hokioi said to the hawk, “what shall be your sign?” The hawk replied, “kei” (the peculiar cry of the hawk). Then the hawk asked, “what is to be your sign?” The hokioi replied, “hokioi–hokioi–hu–u.” These were there words. They then flew and approached the heavens. The winds and the clouds came. The hawk called out “kei” and descended, it could go no further on account of the winds and the clouds, but the hokioi disappeared into the heavens.
Though the Pouakai could attack a person, there is information from people eating the eagles, detailing that a particular wood was needed to sufficiently cook their haunches
One of the mysteries and curiosities of New Zealand
is a UFO explosion in Tapanui, New Zealand, 1178
, which the author believes lead to telekinetic pollution of New Zealand that caused in past, and still causes now, that various organisms which live in New Zealand to sporadically mutate to gigantic sizes.
Based on a blurry photograph
and some footprints found in mud, some cryptozoologists are claiming the Moa lives on.