British Butterflies

Our project to photograph all the 'mainstream' British Butterflies was completed in 2007, during a trip to Scotland for the Chequered Skipper.

I shall continue to update the photos, when I take better or more representative images of each species. Because of this 'continuous quality improvement', these pages will evolve and I will not simply add more photos of the same butterflies.

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Brown Argus butterfly - Swyncombe, Oxon, May 2010

See the UK Butterflies website for information on all of the butterfly species found in Britain , including those that are extinct or migrants.

Data gathered by the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS), jointly led by Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), has shown that 46 out of the 56 butterfly species studied in 2013 recorded an annual increase compared with 2012, which was the worst butterfly year on record since the UKBMS began in 1976.

Several rare species, such as the Black Hairstreak, revived, while the warm weather saw a huge influx of continental migrants, such as the Clouded Yellow. Common species such as the Small, Large and Green-veined Whites bounced back to above-average numbers. The Small Tortoiseshell also rallied after years of decline, recording its best year for a decade. On the other hand, the cold spring of 2013 saw declines in early-flying species, such as the Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Grizzled Skipper.

British Butterfly Identification Chart

Please Click on a Butterfly Group below for individual Species Images.
Additional photos will be found as 'popups' for many species.


Swallowtail and Whites

Copper, Hairstreaks & Metalmark






Pyrausta nigrata

Pyrausta purpuralis

Pyrausta despicata (cespitalis)

Pyrausta aurata

In addition to butterflies, there are many colourful day-flying moths active in sunshine., The above are from the group of micro-moths known as Pyralids.
I photographed all except aurata at Aston Upthorpe Down, Oxon in April 2011.
For more information see: 'British Pyralid Moths' by Barry Goater, Harley Books 1986.

Very few field guides cover the so-called 'micro-moths', so they are easily overlooked!
One that does is the 'Photographic Guide to British Moths and Butterflies' by Chris Manley, A&C Black 2008.
For a comprehensive guide to all our micro-moths, see:
'Field Guide to the Micro-Moths of Great Britain and Ireland' by Phil Sterling et al, BWP 2012.

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All text and photographs on this website are Copyright Mike Flemming.