Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network

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The Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network (RBCN) is an affiliation of individuals, groups and organisations dedicated to the conservation of the Richmond birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) and its host plants, the birdwing butterfly vine (Pararistolochia praevenosa) and mountain aristolochia (P. laheyana).


RBCN logo - colour

Birdwing Vines Planted each year

Seeds distributed each year to grow vines

Our aims

The Richmond birdwing butterfly, the largest subtropical butterfly in Australia, is closely related to several other birdwings from northern Queensland and New Guinea. It is protected in Queensland, where it is classified as a threatened species at risk of extinction.

Richmond birdwing butterfly populations have declined in Queensland since the 1920s following the loss and fragmentation of their habitats, mainly rainforests. Clearing and burning of understorey vegetation, invasion of riparian native vegetation by weeds, and mining of rainforest valleys for volcanic rocks are ongoing threats.

The RBCN hopes to recover the vulnerable Richmond birdwing butterfly and its essential lowland food plant, the birdwing butterfly vine, across this butterfly’s natural ranges. We aim to do this by:

  • rehabilitating habitat corridors between existing fragmented populations and extending these corridors into areas where this beautiful butterfly has disappeared
  • working with state and local governments to implement conservation projects, develop programs and support communities in the restoration of habitat
  • educating communities and raising awareness of the importance of the birdwing butterfly via workshops on the conservation and biology of the butterfly and the propagation and planting of its food vines
  • partnering with numerous landcare and habitat rehabilitation groups to establish key vine planting sites.


Current projects

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Ongoing activities

These projects complement other important components of the RBCN’s efforts to conserve the Richmond birdwing butterfly, including:

  • mapping the current distribution of the butterfly and its food plant
  • removing introduced Dutchman’s pipe vines
  • supporting scientific research
  • running hands-on school projects
  • creating flagship corridors by planting vines
  • creating educational publications.

Donate your birdwing vine fruit (seed pods) to RBCN’s seed bank

Each year, the RBCN collects thousands of seeds to grow seedlings that revegetate important breeding and feeding habitat for Richmond birdwing butterflies and their larvae. But we need more ripe fruit (pods) so we can continue to cultivate seedlings and carry on with this vital conservation work. Please email if you have seeds to donate. RBCN will give one potted vine to every person/family that provides ripe pods.

Watch this video to find out more …

Get involved


Join our network of supporters helping to protect and conserve the vulnerable Richmond birdwing butterfly.

Buy birdwing vines

Buy beautiful vines from the Wildlife Queensland shop. Each vine comes in a 90mm pot with a 70cm stake. Ready for planting.

adopt a birdwing

Support the RBCN by symbolically adopting a Richmond birdwing butterfly with a $60 tax-deductible donation.

report a birdwing sighting

Your information will help RBCN to build a database of birdwing butterfly distribution across QLD/NSW.

Nurseries that sell birdwing vines

Download our list of RBCN-recommended nurseries where you can purchase birdwing vines.

join RBCN facebook group

Join our Facebook Group to meet fellow birdwing lovers, share info and keep abreast of RBCN news & views.

plant vines in seq

The Richmond birdwing regional habitat corridor map (pdf) identifies a corridor in South East Queensland that needs vines to save the species. Please email us if your property falls within the orange or green areas on the map and you would like to plant a vine to help build a birdwing corridor.

RBCN educational resources

Videos & webinars

Richmond birdwing butterfly webinars

Richmond birdwing butterfly videos

  • RBCN seedbank (2022). Watch video
  • Saving Swallowtails Conference 2021: The Richmond Birdwing, Matt Cecil (Wildlife Queensland). Watch presentation
  • Captive-breeding & Release Project, DES (2020). Watch video
  • Back from the Bring: Richmond birdwing, Natura Pacific (2019). Watch video


Further reading

Articles & papers:

  • Sands, D. (2008), Conserving the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly over two decades: Where to next?. Ecological Management & Restoration, 9: 4-16.
  • Sands, D. (2008), Conserving the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly over two decades: Where to next?. Ecological Management & Restoration, 9: 4-16.
  • Pyper, W. (2002). Butterfly effect: rethinking butterfly conservation. Wildlife Australia Magazine 39(4): 14-17


Latest RBCN news

We need birdwing vine fruit (seed pods). Can you help?© Canva NFP

We need birdwing vine fruit (seed pods). Can you help?

Wildlife Queensland’s Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network (RBCN) distributes tens of thousands of seeds of the caterpillar food vine Pararistolochia praevenosa annually to aid recovery of the endangered Richmond birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) … but we still need more!

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