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Common Birdwing

Troides helena


This is one of my absolute favorite spottings, ever. Our helper had caught this butterfly since it kept flying round and round her head and brought it home to show me. I was already awake in the morning and she called me, and I came, and she showed it to me fluttering very weakly in a plastic. And then I freaked out. Because Common Birdwings are listed as Threatened in Singapore, they only have a few scattered populations in the Botanic Gardens and the Alexandra Butterfly Trail and here was one much-the-worse-for-wear specimen here in my house! After taking picture after picture of it, we gently placed it on a plant outside the window, and I watched, worried, as it sort of flopped to the side. Like it was dead. But it wasn't, I knew, since if you blew on it its wings would move but other than that it was unconscious. And it wasn't doing well either: if you see the pictures the lower part of its abdomen is faded white and its brilliant yellow wings so prized by collectors were slightly dirtied. Finally, one time when I came to check on it its wings were fluttering really fast. It rose up slightly... then fell. Rose up... and fell. Finally it flew up, and up, and up, and I watched gaping as it flew off, its beautiful yellow-and-black body outlined against the blue sky.


Anywhere near its host plant: Dutchman's Pipe. Which is nowhere near where we live. So this probably flew all the way from the Botanic Gardens to our house.

No species ID suggestions

Singapore, Singapore

Lat: 1.29, Long: 103.85

Spotted on May 16, 2013
Submitted on May 16, 2013

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