The 2011 Air Series is The Royal Australian Mint's third series dedicated to native Australian fauna, following the popular
Ocean (2006-7) and Land Series (2008-9). The Air Series encompasses six, uncirculated coins, each depicting different winged
fauna on the
The series was periodically released in pairs throughout the year in specially designed cards. The Cairns Birdwing Butterfly was the final release in September, along with the Grey-Headed Flying Fox. (Royal Australian Mint, 2011) Found in the North-East of Australia, the Cairns Birdwing is the largest of all Australian butterflies with a wingspan that can reach up to 18 cm. The males exhibit shades of bright, emerald green on their wings, while females are physically larger. They generally inhabit rainforests, though in recent years their numbers have declined in parts of North-East Queensland as a result of loss of habitat; conservation projects have been established to help combat this. Not only a visually stunning creature, the Cairns Birdwing is essential to the survival of many plants and a plays a vital role in environmental tourism. (Tablelands Regional Council, 2016)
Using a colour/pad printing process, the Mint perfectly captures the characteristic, bright colours of this species. The
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