Belongs to: day-flying moths

Humming-bird hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum


Best time to see: Jul to end Aug

Key facts

Summer visitor from France that hovers to feed from flowers with its long proboscis

Habitat: anywhere that it can find nectar plants, including in gardens and parks

Anywhere in Britain, but most common along the south coast; typically 50 or so sightings per year

Recognition

Mainly grey, with small orange hindwings and a long proboscis extended to feed from flowers

Hovers in front of flowers to drink nectar, its wings moving so fast they are barely visible

Feeds on nectar-rich flowers such as geraniums, honeysuckles, petunias, periwinkles and verbenas; wingspan 57mm

Lifecycle

Eggs laid singly on Lady's Bedstraw and Hedge Bedstraw

Green caterpillars, turning brown when older, active in July and August, forming a loose chrysalis on the ground

Some moths probably hibernate in the warm south and west of England, emerging in early spring before migrants arrive

  • Main photo
  • feeding

Photo © Tony Gunton

Photo © Tony Gunton