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 birdwing@wildlife.org.au 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

BECOME A MEMBER

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

join on facebook

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

adopt a birdwing

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

plant vines in seq habitat corridor

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.

Latest RBCN news

Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Webinar© Canva NFP

Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Webinar

Join our FREE one-hour Wildlife Queensland webinar for a fascinating look at Australia’s largest sub-tropical butterfly, the Richmond birdwing butterfly. Learn about how a joint Captive Rearing and Release Project is helping to conserve this vulnerable species, and the secrets to cultivating and caring for birdwing butterfly vines, the Richmond birdwing butterfly’s host plant.

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RBCN resources

fact sheets & guides

further reading

webinars & videos

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