Its native habitat is the undisturbed cloud forest between 1,000 & 2,000m
Adults are rarely seen as they fly high up in the canopy of the forest, feeding on nectar from the flowers of trees and vines.
The larvae feed only on the vine Aristolochia foveolata, which is found only in the cloud forest and occurs in very few places
Although a creature of primary cloud forest, the Kinabalu Birdwing has adapted to a mosaic of habitats on the Mesilau Plateau, with patches of forest mixed with vegetable plots and gardens. It finds nectar in the garden flowers, as well as in the forest canopy.
It will become extinct if too much forest is cut down.
Another risk is climate change. Rising temperatures are slowly pushing cool-adapted mountain animals and plants to higher ground. Satellite mapping of Borneo shows that only a tiny fraction of land is above 2000m – therefore eventually ‘Nowhere to Go’.
Our Kinabalu Birdwing team is supported by the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu as one of its environmental projects.
We are promoting awareness of the Kinabalu Birdwing to the general public and schoolkids as an icon of Sabah’s insect biodiversity.
We have submitted a proposal to the State Government that this rare and imposing species should become Sabah’s State Butterfly.