Trogonoptera brookiana

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Raja Brooke's birdwing
Trogonoptera brookiana 0588.JPG
Adult male (above) and female, dorsal surfaces
Scientific classification
T. brookiana
Binomial name
Trogonoptera brookiana
Wallace, 1855
  • Troides brookiana

Rajah Brooke's birdwing (Trogonoptera brookiana) is a birdwing butterfly from the rainforests of the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Natuna, Sumatra, and various small islands west of Sumatra (Banyak, Simeulue, Batu and Mentawai).[1][2] The butterfly was named by the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1855, after James Brooke, the Rajah of Sarawak.[2] The larval host plants are Aristolochia acuminata and A. foveolata.[3] Adults sip flower nectar from plants such as Bauhinia.[2] Rajah Brooke's birdwing is a protected species, listed under Appendix II of CITES,[3][4] meaning that international export is restricted to those who have been granted a permit. It is the national butterfly of Malaysia.[5]


Both sexes resemble the more restricted relative, the Palawan birdwing, but males of Rajah Brooke's birdwing have more green to the hindwings. The wingspan of Rajah Brooke's birdwing is 15–17 cm (5.9–6.7 in).[3] The wings of males are mainly black. Each forewing has seven tooth-shaped electric-green markings, while there is a relatively large electric-green patch on the hindwings. The head is bright red and the body is black with red markings. The wings of females are browner with prominent white flashes at the tips of the forewings and at the base of the hindwings.[3]


Genus: Trogonoptera Rippon, 1890

Species: Trogonoptera brookiana Wallace, 1855
Subspecies: Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana (Wallace, 1855)
Form: Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana f. brookiana Wallace, 1855
Form: Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana f. julijae S.Hu, 2007
Subspecies: Trogonoptera brookiana toshikii Kobayashi, 1991
Subspecies: Trogonoptera brookiana akikoa Morita, 1994
Species: Trogonoptera trojana Honrath, 1886


Two males at Kuala Woh


  1. ^ The World of Birdwing Butterflies. Trogonoptera brookiana. Accessed 20 May 2012
  2. ^ a b c ARKive Rajah Brooke’s birdwing. Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 20 May 2012
  3. ^ a b c d Butterfly Corner. Trogonoptera brookiana (Raja Brooke's Birdwing). Accessed 20 May 2012
  4. ^ CITES (3 April 2012) Appendices. Accessed
  5. ^ Butterflies of Malaysia. Accessed 20 May 2012
  • Goh, D. 1994. Life history of Trogonoptera brookiana albescens in Malaysia (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Tropical Leidoptera 5(1): 1-5. pdf

Further reading[edit]

  • Han, Z. W.; Niu, S. C.; Shang, C. H.; Liu, Z. N.; Ren, L. Q. (2012). "Light trapping structures in wing scales of butterfly Trogonoptera brookiana". Nanoscale. 4 (9): 2879–2883. doi:10.1039/c2nr12059c.
  • Wilts, B.; Giraldo, M. A.; Stavegna, D. G. (2016). "Unique wing scale photonics of male Rajah Brooke's birdwing butterflies". Frontiers in Zoology. 13 (36). doi:10.1186/s12983-016-0168-7. PMC 4983073.