Tag Archives: butterflies

Birds and butterflies under a glass dome in Key West

The (adorable) Diamond Dove is named for the white speckles on its wings.

These little doves are native to Australia but I spotted this one at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory a couple of days ago, when I was down in the Keys for a few days.

You have to watch where you walk in the conservatory, because the doves get under your feet. Also check yourself for butterflies in the mirror near the exit.

This is a brush-footed butterfly called a Malachite, named for the green mineral malachite. Malachites live mainly in Central America but there are some in the southern tip of Florida, says the internet.

The conservatory is a tropical habitat under a glass dome, with hundreds of butterflies and little birds winging around. It’s magical, and intensely peaceful. If they checked your blood pressure at the beginning of the looping walk and at the end, I’m sure it would be lower.

It’s located near the southern end of world-famous Duval Street in downtown Key West, Florida, not far from the “Southernmost Point” in the U.S. and a bit more than five hours away from my home.

I’m blue, da ba dee da ba daa.

The Blue Dacnis is a member of the tanager family of birds, and lives in parts of Central and South America. I’d love to see one in the wild, but will settle for a climate-controlled mini-paradise in Key West followed by a walk through downtown and stops at Mel Fisher’s Treasures, Mangoes for fish tacos, Pilar Rum Distillery and the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens (more on Key West “birding” in a post to follow).

This is a Clipper, Parthenos sylvia, native to Southeast Asia. (I had help IDing all these birds and bugs on iNaturalist.)

Also a lovely blue (da ba dee), this is an Opal-rumped Tanager nomming on some tanager food.

Tanagers (Thraupidae) are the second-largest family of birds, often brightly-colored, and live only in the Western Hemisphere, mainly the tropics of Central and South America. (The largest family of birds are the tyrant flycatchers, Tyrannidae.)

Speaking of families, I recognized the family of this butterfly. It reminds me of the Zebra Longwings I see often in my neighborhood, the State Butterfly of Florida. This fine fellow is a Red Postman, aka red passion flower butterfly, or crimson-patched longwing – a member of the longwing or Heliconius family of New World butterflies.

And last but not least, an enchantingly weird bird the Guinea Turaco from West Africa. Very dinosaur-like, don’t you think?

Other wings


We interrupt Bird Blog to bring you Backyard Butterflies.


I planted a Corkystem Passion Vine and the Zebra Longwings found one of their favorite host plants in a few days.


Monarch butterfly alights at the tip of a Simpson’s stopper.


Many monarchs are year-road residents in south Florida and do not migrate… because they don’t have to.


This Zebra Longwing laid eggs on this leaf at the tip of the passion vine, then folded the leaf over to protect the eggs.


Wood Stork flies over our backyard. “Not a lot of places you can see this,” I said to my husband who was sitting in the adirondack chair next to me.


Wood Storks have been building nests on nearby Bird Island, flying back and forth to our little peninsular town for branches. They can also be seen spiraling overhead with vultures and sometimes a frigate bird or two.


A Red-bellied Woodpecker clings to our backyard coconut tree.