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Biological overview
Physical information

Avg. height:

267.9 centimetres (8.79 ft)[1]


Large, flightless, bird-like creature with feathers and scales

Sociocultural information




Moa are creatures native to Reach.[2][3] They are large flightless bird-like creatures that resemble extinct Earth-based Moa. They have feathered bodies with scales from the neck up, leading up to a very lizard-like head.


Prior to its fall, the moa were consumed by humans on Reach. The New Alexandria fast food restaurant chain World Cuisine had advertisements promoting moa burgers, priced at 7.77cR. These moa were most likely domesticated and farmed for food.[4] As well, they were exported to other Human colonies and to Earth as food and pets.[3]

Following the Fall of Reach in the summer of 2552, the Covenant's attack on the planet brought the moa's numbers to near-extinction levels. However, moa still survive on Reach in remote sectors of the planet that were not glassed by the Covenant. The largest single population of moa is located on the Inner Colony of Gannick 22. Wiljax Brantley, entrepreneur and owner of the restaurant and petting zoo Have S'Moa, had a population of moa shipped to the planet from Reach just before the attack. The zoo's moa nuggets have now become an incredibly expensive delicacy among wealthy Unified Earth Government dignitaries.[2]


A close-up of a Moa's head.

The Moa appear as ambient life in Halo: Reach. The Moa are harmless and will not attack the player. They will take shelter under bridges and other formations when there is a battle nearby. Neither human nor Covenant AI are hostile towards the Moa, although if the player kills one while near a member of Noble Team, they will sometimes comment as if an enemy had been killed. The first time that Moa are encountered in Halo: Reach is when several bolt around a corner in an early part of the campaign level Winter Contingency before contact with the Covenant, causing many players to shoot and kill the birds by accident. They are once again and lastly seen in Nightfall, shortly after fighting the two Gúta.

Killing 7 of them in the level Winter Contingency unlocks the achievement KEEP IT CLEAN.[5]


  • The original Moa were a group of flightless bird species native to the north and south islands that make up New Zealand, hunted to extinction between 1300 and 1400 CE by the original native Maori tribes. It is unlikely that Reach's "Moa" is related to the New Zealand Moa, and were most likely nicknamed by settlers for their superficial similarity.
  • Moa appear as white dots on the player's motion tracker, and the player's reticle does not change color when it is pointed at a Moa. However, if the player melees a Moa at close range, it is possible to lunge towards it, as if they were an enemy.
  • The price of the moa burger in the Halo: Reach level Exodus (7.77 cR) is a reference to Bungie's favorite number.
  • It is possible that Moa with the red plumes on their heads are males while the ones without them are females, since the red plumes could serve a purpose similar to Earth's birds, for mating and for courtship, similar to the feathers of a peacock.
  • Curiously, Moa are affected by the Mythic skull.
  • If the player kills a Moa, NPCs, such as Jorge-052, might fire at or talk to the corpse as if they were an enemy. Similarly, Army troopers will still comment as if the Moa were a hostile target. This is most likely a small oversight, as Bungie programmed NPCs to fire on dead enemies the player killed.[6]
  • According to the Halo: Reach Legendary Edition developer commentary, Kat-B320 would laugh when the player killed Moa just as she would when killing Covenant. It was cut because it seemingly encouraged animal cruelty.
  • A cut easter egg in the level New Alexandria would have parodied the 1982 game Joust, which featured a knight riding a flying ostrich, by allowing players to ride Moas with jetpacks while wielding energy swords.[7]
  • One of the options on the vending machines in Reflection is "Moa Wings".
  • In Halo Mash-Up: Minecraft Evolved, chicken and horse mobs are retextured to look like Moa.


List of appearances[edit]