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Paradise Birdwing

Ornithoptera paradisea arfakensis


Ornithoptera paradisea belongs to the family PAPILIONIDAE or Swallowtail butterflies. This subspecies is endemic to the Arfak mountains. Adult males fly high around trees rarely descending to the ground except to feed on flowers. O. paradisea is strongly sexually dimorphic and the significantly larger female covers the upper range of the wingspan.Her basic colour is dark-brown. The wingspan of a Birdwing can be 6-8 inches across, or 15-21 cms.


Seen in the Arfak Mountains, West Papua, Indonesia at around 5,175 ft, or 1,580m


The habitat of Ornithoptera paradisea is lowland or montane primary forest. Ornithoptera paradisea arfakensis is a very distinct purely high-altitude subspecies, and the distribution is separated from that of the nominate subspecies. Considered a full species by some recent authors.

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pamsai a year ago

Thanks WilliamsFamily and Mark...

LaurenZarate a year ago

Yes! Breathtaking all of them! What a wonderful experience and so many neat trips! I was thinking of you the other day when we stopped to take pictures because there were so many butterflies and I couldn't get close to them. You would have gotten great pictures!

pamsai a year ago

thanks Laren... Did you look at the others I posted ? They were so amazing.

LaurenZarate a year ago

Amazingly spectacular Pam! Wow! Congratulations!

pamsai a year ago

Thank you Daniele... I must say that the roads in the Arfak mountains were the worst I've been on in the world so far, but the Birdwings were worth it ! They are so big they look like birds as they fly down from the canopy. And we were in a great place at the perfect time of the year, so unusually there were many around. Very lucky to see all 4 species. Many people who have gone to the same place were lucky to see one.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway a year ago

Stunning images Pam. Congrats.

DanielePralong a year ago

We are so lucky that you have been traveling to a special, unique spot again pamsai! Congratulations, this Paradise Birdwing subspecies is our Spotting of the Day:

"Endemic to the Arfak Mountains of West Papua, Indonesia, this subspecies of the Paradise Birdwing (Ornithoptera paradisea arfakensis) is our Spotting of the Day! Birdwings are butterflies in the swallowtail family (Papilionidae) that belong to the genera Trogonoptera, Troides, and Ornithoptera, and count some of the largest butterflies in the world. Prized among collectors, all birdwing species are now listed by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Ornithoptera paradisea is strongly sexually dimorphic, with the male seen here mainly yellow gold and green with thin tails on the hindwing, while the larger female is dark brown with white an yellow markings".

Pamsai recently returned from the Arfak Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot, with spottings of several spectacular birdwing species. Check out her collection here:



WilliamsFamily a year ago


Spotted by

Pabar, Indonesia

Lat: -1.12, Long: 133.97

Spotted on Oct 12, 2018
Submitted on Nov 20, 2018

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