Cairns Birdwing

The largest Australian butterfly. They fly high around the treetops. Their flight patterns look like a bird. The males are brilliantly coloured with green and gold. The females are larger with white, black and yellow in their wings. Their thorax and abdomen are red and yellow. The female seems to ‘dance over’ her host plant to check its suitability. Eggs are laid singly on or near the host plant.

Scientific Name
Ornithoptera euphorion
Feeds On
Tropical rainforest vines (Aristolochia praevenosa or Aristolochia tagala)
Usual Location
North Queensland, between Cooktown and Mackay
Best Viewing
Throughout the year
Wing Span
Male 13 cm; Female 20 cm
Dark brown with long fleshy spines that are orange with a black tip. Grows to 6.5 cm in length.
Yellowy orange or ochre. Fastened by a cremaster and a girdle around its middle. The head is pointed upward.