Top 10 Biggest Butterflies in the World: Winging Wonders

In your opinion, what can be the maximum size of a butterfly? You will surely forget all the butterflies that you had seen around you after knowing about the top 10 biggest butterflies in the world and their captivating looks! Just imagine a butterfly bigger than your hand! Isn’t it really amazing?

Join us on this beautiful and interesting journey of exploring largest butterflies in the world. Out of 17,500 species of butterflies, we will fly from Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing to the iridescent Buru Opalescent to discover the biggest ones in the dreamy and colorful world of butterflies.

1. Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing

Quenn alexandra birdwing-Top 10 butterflies

Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is known to be the biggest butterfly in the world, thus being on top of our list of top 10 biggest butterflies in the world. Its wingspan is around 12.2 inches, and weight around 25 g. It has 2 compound eyes, 6 legs, and wings (covered with scales). 

The beautiful appearance of this large butterfly is based on different colors, such as vibrant emerald green with black wings, and a hint of blue on the underside. Usually, the wing color of female butterflies is brown with white spots and a patch of red fur on thorax. If you really want to see this butterfly live, you should travel to the rainforests of New Guinea!

2. Goliath Birdwing

Goliath birdwing-Top 10 biggest butterflies in the world

With the wingspan of 11 inches, goliath birdwing ranks second on our search of top 10 largest butterflies in the world. It is commonly seen in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea. Although it is second biggest butterfly yet its weight is only 12 grams. Its wing shape is very unique which looks like a wing of a bird with elongated tips, hence it is named “birdwing.”

It has very attractive colors and patterns on its body; males usually appear in combinations of green, yellow and black whereas females appear in brown color. There are dark black lines on the forewings of the males and they appear in lime green or mango-yellow color. However, females have cream-colored stripes with triangular patches in hindwing (golden-yellow gradient).

3. Buru Opalescent Birdwing

Buru opalescent birdwing-Top 10 biggest butterflies in the world

With the wingspan around 7.9 inches, buru opalescent birdwing is listed as 3rd biggest butterfly in the world.  Its beautiful body colors include yellow, black, and golden. It looks more attractive due to vibrant iridescent gold color on its hindwings, due to which it is named “Buru Opalescent Birdwing”.

This gold colored butterfly can be commonly found on the Indonesian island of Buru, at 1300 – 1600 m height. Its most distinguishing feature is its wings, which have black base and decorated with beautiful green and blue scales. Interestingly, it looks like changing colors on its wings, depending upon viewing angle.

4. Palawan Birdwing

Palwan birwing-Top 10 biggest butterflies

Since palwan birdwing (or triangle birdwing) is native to the province of Palawan in the Philippines, that’s why it is known as one of the largest and most beautiful butterfly in Palawan. It has a wingspan around 7.5 inches and appears in different captivating colors, including red, yellow, green, blue, black and white.

The captivating look of males is based on the small metallic green triangle markings on wings, and blue sheen running from the base of the wing upward. However, females have brown color with tan markings (following the veins) with a light blue and green shine on the base of the forewing and center of the hind wing.

5. Wallace’s Golden Birdwing

Wallace's golden birdwing-Top 10 butterflies

Although Wallace golden birdwing is best known for its stunning golden-yellow wings, yet its wingspan of 7.1 inches put it on our list of top 10 biggest butterflies in the world. This beautiful species of butterflies is native to Indonesia with an average lifespan of 2 – 3 weeks only!

Males (being more colorful) have black body and golden yellow (or yellow orange) colored wings. They have black underside with green lines, yellow upper wings, brown head, yellow abdomen, black veins and green underside. However, females have brown wings with white spots and yellow markings (V-shapes) on the hindwing.

6. Rippon’s Birdwing

Rippon birdwing-Top 10 butterflies

With and average wingspan of 7.9 inches, Rippon birdwing is among the top 10 biggest butterflies in the world. Although, rippon birdwing has large wingspan, yet it weighs very light; even less than a gram! This beautiful butterfly species is commonly witnessed in Indonesia and best known for its elegant appearance, based on prominent colors (black, blue, green, yellow).

The wings of males are black, which are adorned with striking blue and green markings on it. It has grey hindwings, black outer edge and veins, and a chain of golden spots on body. However, wings of females are dark brown with white markings (including veins).

7. Chimaera Birdwing

Chimaera birdwing

This beautiful and large butterfly in resident of Papua New Guinea, where it flies above 1000 meter from sea level. Being one of the top 10 largest butterflies, its wingspan is 7.1 inches. It has very colorful appearance, based on combination of black, yellow, and green.

Males have black forewings, green colored underside of the forewing, black margin of the wing, black veins, yellow abdomen, black head and thorax, and chain of black and golden spots. On the other hand, females have dark brown color with a chain of white postdiscal spots on the forewings.

8. Magellan Birdwing

Magellan birdwing

Magellan birdwing is not only among the top 10 biggest butterflies in the world but also the most beautiful butterflies in the world. Its unique and attractive shimmering beauty is just breathtaking! It has a wingspan of 7.1 inches and very lovely body colors.

Males have black forewings, white-bordered veins, golden (or blue or green) hindwings, some touch of blue and green, black head and thorax, and yellow abdomen. Whereas, females have dark brown to black body color with white-bordered veins, and some golden spots. The interesting thing is its location as it is found only on Orchid Island with an average population of just 2000. On the related note, got the scoop of the monarch butterfly?

9. Miranda Birdwing

Miranda birdwing

Miranda birdwing is best known for its bold black and white patterns with yellow accents. Its wingspan is 6.7 inches and it is mainly found in the tropical rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. It is also known by the name “Troides Miranda” in Philippines.

The main body colors include black, yellow and green. For males, forewings are black with white (or pale yellow) patches and veins, and vibrant yellow hindwings. On the other hand, females have broader forewings (compared to males) which have less markings. Both males and females have prominent tail-like extensions on their hindwings and unique patterns.

10. African Giant Swallowtail

African gaint swallowtail

The African Giant Swallowtail (also known as papilio antimachus) completes our list of top 10 biggest butterflies in the world as it has a wingspan of 9.1 inches. It is known to be one of the largest butterfly in Africa which appears in dark orange-brown color. Its wings are long and narrow with beautiful black markings.

Interestingly, this butterfly has no fear from any other species as it is toxic to others! It is found that its toxin is due to the leaves of Strophanthus gratus. Moreover, the African Giant Swallowtail has no prominent tail-like extensions on its hindwings, which distinguishes it from other butterflies.

Decoding the Rankings

The ranking list of top 10 biggest butterflies in the world is mainly based on the wingspan size, which is maximum for the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing. Starting from wingspan of 12.2 inches to 6 inches, various butterflies are ranked according to their body size. Gloiath birdwing has the wingspan of 11 inches, thus it is placed on second position. Other candidates in this list include Buru Opalescent Birdwing, Palawan Birdwing, and Wallace’s Golden Birdwing, which have wingspans of 7.9, 7.5, and 7.1 inches respectively. In the end, African Giant Swallowtail is placed in the list which has the wingspan of 9.1 inches. It is yet placed in end because of its overall appearance and absence of prominent tail-like extensions.


Butterflies feed on nectar from flowers through their long proboscis to sip. They can also consume other liquids such as water, tree sap, and the juices from rotting fruits.

Around 17,500 species of butterflies are present worldwide. All of them are completely different, showing a wide range of sizes, colors and habitats.

This credit goes to African Giant Swallowtail! This is the poisonous butterfly whose toxicity comes from the leaves of Strophanthus gratus (which it ingests during larval stage).

Western Pygmy Blue Butterfly is the smallest butterfly in the world.

The rarest butterfly in the world is the Palos Verdes blue butterfly, which is critically endangered and found only in the coastal sage scrub habitat of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in California, USA.

Mudassar Ahmad

He is a seasoned blogger since 2012 and an M.Phil graduate in English Linguistics. He captivates readers with his eloquent prose and insightful perspectives. His passion for language and dedication to crafting compelling content make him a trusted voice in the online sphere. Explore the world through Ahmad's literary lens.

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