Thailand's Air Force will drop 120 million origami paper birds over the country's troubled southern provinces today.

It is a Government-sponsored goodwill gesture to bring unity to a region where more than 550 people have been killed this year in a Muslim insurgency.

The Thai people responded overwhelmingly to a call by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for each of the country's 62 million people to fold a paper bird in the name of peace, doubling the target to 120 million.

The air drops will coincide with celebrations to mark the birthday of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

An estimated 50 military, police and government aircraft will deliver the paper birds over the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat on a day-long air drop.

Some Islamic community leaders in the region have dismissed the plan as a political stunt and a Government-backed act of littering