Birdwing Butterfly

Birdwing Butterfly Ornithoptera tithonus was collecting nectar from Rhododendron zoelleri.
Birdwing butterfly was collecting nectar

Birdwing Butterfly from Arfak mountains
Birdwing butterfly in Arfak range

Two weeks ago, I went to Arfak mountains. I guided two American tourists from Atlanta Georgia on hiking, birding, and wildlife watching tour. We stayed in Mount Soyti guesthouse whose frontyard was full of various colorful flowers. Some of them were Rhododendron flowers. There were three species which I saw, i.e. Rhododendron konori and Rhododendron zoelleri and Rhododendron laetum. The flowers were blooming at that time. They attracted butterflies to the garden to collect the nectar of the flowers. In the mornings when the weather was nice with warm sunlight, butterflies were seen flying in the flower garden. They hopped from one flower to another.

I saw several butterflies whose size were bigger than the average butterflies in nature. Slowly and carefuly I approached one of them. I stood still closer to the flower plants with camera in my hands. It was a Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600 mm G2 telephoto lens. I focused my attention on a female birdwing butterfly. She was busy taking the nectar of flowers from Rhododendron zoelleri. The plant was also called Vireya Rhododendron.

When the butterfly was clearly visible and was within the shooting distance of my camera, I shot her several times. To get better pictures, I adjusted my position so that I could geta better shooting angle relative to the butterfly and the flowers. In my opinion, it was an Ornithoptera tithonus. I used to make a drawing of butterfly which I had uploaded into my redbubble artwork shop. The butterfly was also a birdwing one but different species. It was an Ornithoptera priamus. She was collecting the nectar of a red hibiscus flower. I made the drawing using inkscape - a vector drawing software. The artwork is now available as printed illustration on various products such as mug, t-shirt, pillow, and even tote bag.

In addition to watching butterfly, we also went hiking in the forest to see birds. In the first day after arriving in the mountains, we watched male Vogelkop Bowerbird that builds his bower to attract his female counterpart. He builds his bower from wooden twigs and decorates it with flowers, and bright colored articles such as beetle wings and seeds of oak tree. Every mornings the male bird comes to his bower and rearrange his things so that his bower will look attractive. After that he will make various kinds of sounds to attract female Vogelkop Bowerbird. If she is impressed with his bower, she will land and give green-light for mating.

We also watched male Western Parotia. It is another species of bird of paradise that dances like a ballerina to attract his female counterpart. Every adult male Western Parotia will make his dancing ground deep in the forest by clearing a small piece of land from fallen leaves and twigs. In the mornings, he will call female Western Parotia birds to come and watch his dance performance. The dance looks like a ballet performance. If one of the female birds likes the show, she will mate with him.

Also read:
Hibiscus Flower and Birdwing Butterfly
Rhododendron Flowers