Ornithoptera alexandrae, Queen Alexandra’s birdwing, is a species restricted to the forests of the Oro Province in eastern Papua New Guinea. The species is endangered and one of only three insects (the other two being butterflies as well) to be listed on Appendix I of CITES, making commercial international trade illegal.

The species was discovered in 1906 by Albert Stewart Meek, a collector employed by Walter Rothschild to collect natural history specimens from New Guinea. In the next year, Rothschild named the species in honor of Queen Alexandra of Denmark. Although the first specimen was taken with the aid of a small shotgun, Meek soon discovered the early stages and bred out most of the first specimens.

Female Queen Alexandra’s birdwings are larger than males with markedly rounder, broader wings. The female can reach and slightly exceed, a wingspan of 25 cm to 28 cm, a body length of 8 cm, and a body mass of up to 12 g, all enormous measurements for a butterfly. The female has brown wings with white markings arranged as two rows of chevrons. The hindwings are brown with a sub-marginal line of centered yellow triangles. The body is cream-colored and there is a small section of red fur on the brown thorax. Males are smaller than females. The abdomen is bright yellow. The wingspan of the males can be approximately 20 cm, but more usually about 16 cm. A spectacular form of the male is form atavus, which has gold spots on the hindwings.


The adults may live for three months or more and have few predators, excluding large orb-weaving spiders (Nephila species) and some small birds. The adults are powerful fliers most active in the early morning and again at dusk when they actively feed at flowers.

According to the Internet