Sunday, 20 March 2016

Common Australian Crow Butterfly

The beautiful black and white Common Crow visits us almost every day. The graceful flight of this medium-sized butterfly is a welcome sight… It is a distinctive butterfly, with its bracelet of white spots set against its shiny black predominance. Of the various butterflies to visit our garden over the warm season, this has been the most prevalent.

The Common Crow is a relaxed visitor. Unlike other passing butterflies, it will settle for long periods, feeding upon nectar-bearing flowers, moving unhurriedly and elegantly from bloom to bloom. Apparently, its body can produce a leave-me-alone scent to deter attack from birds. This scent acts as a warning that the butterfly is unpalatable to our feathered friends.

We have seen the Australian Crow feeding at a number of our garden plants. It frequents the limau kasturi at flowering time. At other times, it is a delight to watch it circle the lime tree in search of any available little white blossoms upon which to feed.

It also drops by the large pink flowers of our Grevillea ‘Caloundra Gem’. This shrub is also regularly visited by two bird species, the Noisy Minor and the Rainbow Lorikeet… our butterfly seems undeterred and unconcerned by their presence.

Without a doubt, however, its most common haunt is the China Doll plant (Duranta erecta). Every fine day, one, or a pair of, Common Crows can be seen feeding for long periods on the abundant blue and white blooms on display, regularly in the late morning and again in the late afternoon. Here, it must compete with all manner of flying trouble, ranging from bees and wasps to dragon flies. Regardless, it returns to sup time after time.

Yesterday provided an interesting encounter with a Common Crow. I was hand-watering some pots. In the process, water spilled onto our bush rock pathway. Without a care, a passing Common Crow landed right at my feet to drink. Our interaction continued for some time, the butterfly unconcerned about my presence or about the fact that our cat, restrained, was sitting beside me!

The Australian Common Crow (Euploea core) appears to be one of a number of closely related species which can be found throughout the Southeast Asian nations, northern Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Wishing you hours of enjoyment and contentment in your garden…


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