Richmond Birdwing Butterfly
South East Queensland’s rainforests are home to some remarkable Australian species that share distinct characteristics with the island of New Guinea to our north. Indeed, once joined across what is now the Torres Strait, this shared land-mass gave free rein for the colonisation of both sides by similar rainforest creatures, including the breath-taking birdwing butterflies. Following the flooding of the Torres Strait, Australia’s birdwings, cut off from the rest, diversified into 3 high-flying, dazzlingly beautiful species with 1 unique to our region. Despite such a colourful history though, recent times have been tough for this butterfly, as here their caterpillar’s foodplants and moist rainforest habitat have declined. How can we help these fascinating insects?
This is the story of the Richmond Birdwing.
With a wingspan of up to 16cm, the Richmond Birdwing is South East Queensland’s largest butterfly!
In this Christmas special episode of Back from the Brink, we delve into the life-cycle and conservation challenges facing this remarkable insect and look at how we can work together as a community to help save it from extinction.
Want to check out real-life birdwings in the wild? Well, you can! Take a visit to the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk between October and December and you may be lucky enough to witness these high-flyers for yourself!
Big thanks go to Seqwater, Birdwings Forest School, Ngarangwal Gold Coast Aboriginal Association Inc., Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network and Tamborine Skywalk for your support with this production and all the other great work you do!
Find out more on our resource page!