Southern birdwing

Click on the pics to load them in higher resolution

With a wingspan of 14-20 centimeters the Southern birdwing is the largest butterfly in India! It is easy to spot in the Western Ghats and has a leisurely and confident flight as it often soars several meters above the ground.

Southern Birdwing Rahul Alvares butterfly trips

One of the reasons this butterfly flies around with impunity is because it is poisonous. The host plant toxins accumulated by the butterfly during its larval stage make it unpalatable to predators. The bright conspicuous colors of the southern birdwing advertise this unpalatibility.

Southern Birdwing Rahul Alvares butterfly trips

The southern birdwing feeds exclusively on nectar and frequents the red pagoda flowers (Clerodendrum paniculatum)