In December 2022, I visited Maolin in Taiwan to observe the Purple Crow butterfly migration 🤯. This was my first time witnessing an animal migration and I was undoubtedly excited.

Every year from late September to early November, the Purple Crow butterfly (Euploea genus) migrates from the Northern montane region of Taiwan to the tropical lowlands in the South (Wang & Emmel, 1990). This migration is triggered by the changing weather conditions and the availability of food in different areas. By late November, before the first cold front hits the island, all the butterflies would have migrated to the south (Wang and Emmel, 1990). When this happens, thousands of these purple and black butterflies move across the island.

<aside> 🐛 Sidenote: We also have gorgeous Euploea butterflies like the striking blue Euploea mulciber here ****in Singapore!


It is interesting to know that the Monarchs are not the only Danaines to display an over-wintering migratory behaviour! A recent report from 2022 also highlighted a migration of Euploea on the Palawan Island in the Philippines.

Purple crow butterflies


The name ‘Purple Crow’ refers to more than one species of butterfly

The butterflies are attracted to a variety of flowering plants, including milkweeds, borage, and zinnias. They are also known to feed on the nectar of fruit trees such as oranges and persimmons. As they fly from one area to another, they help to pollinate these plants, making them an important part of the ecosystem.

To see these beautiful creatures, I travelled from Taipei to Kaohsiung by train, and then by bus to the town of Maolin. There are various places we can go to witness these butterflies but my research pointed me to the Butterfly Walkway and Ecological Park set up by the Maolin District Office. Here, there are clear paths with instructive signboards.