|Ornithoptera rothschildi male, upperside|
This species was first recognized by entomologist Charles Edgar Pratt and described by George Kenrick in 1911. It was named in honour of Lord Walter Rothschild who financed most of the expeditions of the naturalist Antwerp Edgar Pratt (1850-1924) and his two sons, Carl Brenders Pratt and Felix Biet Pratt, to British New Guinea from 1902–1903 and to the Arfak Mountains of Dutch New Guinea from 1909–1910.
The females can reach a wingspan up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in). The forewings are dark brown to blackish brown with creamy white to greyish spots. The hindwings rimmed with black scales and have a central patch of golden with black tips. The abdomen has hairy black rings. The wingspan of the males is approximately 13 cm (5.1 in) and the body length up to 13 cm (5.1 in). The forewings of the males are surrounded with black scales and in the central area with blackish, yellowish-green and yellow scales. The hindwings have black scales on the edge. The central patch is yellow with black tips abutting with smaller spots which are coloured lime green. The abdomen is golden.
Rothschild's Birdwing has the most restricted distribution of all birdwings. Its habitat are flowering meadows in an altitude of 2,000–2,700 metres (6,600–8,900 ft) above sea level.
- M. Gimenez Dixon (1996). "Ornithoptera rothschildi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2.3 (2.3). International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
- D'Abrera, B. (1975) Birdwing Butterflies of the World. Country Life Books, London.
- Collins, N. Mark; Morris, Michael G. (1985). Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World: The IUCN Red Data Book. Gland & Cambridge: IUCN. ISBN 978-2-88032-603-6.
- Haugum, J. & Low, A.M. 1978-1985. A Monograph of the Birdwing Butterflies. 2 volumes. Scandinavian Press, Klampenborg; 663 pp.
- Deslisle, G. (2004) A taxonomic revision of the “birdwing butterflies of paradise”, genus Ornithoptera based on the adult morphology (Lepidoptera, Papilionidae). Lambillionea, 104 (4): 1 - 151.
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