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Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network

Bring back the Birdwing Butterfly

A project of Wildlife Queensland
This website is no longer the official website of the Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network. It was developed for the Richmond Birddwing Recovery Network. The author has continued to maintain it in recognition of the efforts of the many volunteers involved in the project and in the collection of the wild and planted vines and butterfly sightings.
The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly   Ornithoptera richmondia.

The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) is one of the largest butterflies found in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. This beautiful butterfly, the male of which has brilliant green and black wings and bright red splash on its thorax, was once found in great numbers from the Mary River Heads in Queensland to the Clarence River in New south Wales and west to the Great Dividing Range.

Since the early 1900s, the range of the butterfly has become severely restricted. By the beginning of the 21st century, its distribution was reduced to two distinct populations, one on the Sunshine Coast and one stretching from the Gold Coast and its hinterland to the more northern parts of Northen New South Wales. Brisbane and its environs no longer has a stable and viable Richmond Birdwing Population, although sightings are more frequent in wet weather years encouraged by a frenzy of planting activities in the Brisbane suburbs over the last two decades.

Click here for more information on the threats to the survival of this butterfly.

Once one has seen the beautiful male Richmond Birdwing butterfly with its brilliant green and black wings, it would be difficult and unlikely to confuse another butterfly with it. On the other hand, the very different and larger female Richmond Birdwing butterfly can be easily confused with a number of other butterflies.

This page and subsequent pages will attempt to remove some of the confusion that those of us who have never seen a Richmond Birdwing Butterfly suffer, and answer the question "Was that a Richmond Birdwing butterlfy?" The pages do not present a scientific key with which to identify the butterfly, but a series of pictures that will help point out the differences.

The male is best recognized as it flies and glides through the forest or garden, with its brilliant green wings easily visible. However, when at rest, feeding on a flower, it usually holds its wings together, displaying the blue, yellow and black colours on the underside of its wings. Rarely does it rest with its wings spread out so that you can see the brilliant green on the upper side.

Click here for a list of look a-like butterflies.