Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi)

Male. Taken at Rodborough Common, Glos., on May 18th 2013.
(1/100th sec at f11. Approx 4x lifesize. © David Hastings)


Wing span: 28 - 33 mm

This species is unique among British butterflies in having vivid green coloration. It is the underside of the wings that are green, but as this butterfly always perches with its wings closed, the green underwings blend perfectly with the fresh green leaves of spring.

It is found throughout most of Britain and Ireland, but is very localised in many areas. It forms distinct colonies which can be as small as a few dozen individuals.

It can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including hillsides, moorland, chalk downland, heathland, railway embankments and valley bottoms. A common feature of all these habitats is the presence of scrubby plants and hedgerows.

There is one brood per year, with adults being on the wing between mid-April and mid-June. The species over-winters as a pupa.

This species has the widest range of larval foodplants of any British species, which includes Bilberry, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Broom, Common Rock-rose, Dogwood, Bramble and Gorse.

Adults feed primarily on Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), Honeydew, Sap and Privet (Ligustrum vulgare).

Males spend long periods perched in vegetation, and will launch to investigate any passing insect. If it is a rival male they will engage in a sprialling battle flight. Green Hairstreaks regulate their body temperature by changing their alignment to the sun.

This species is of Least Concern on the UK list.


01-Jun-2019 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (2)
24-May-2019 : Inverlaidnan, Highland (12+)
14-May-2019 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (6)
12-May-2019 : Pitstone, Bucks (12)
12-May-2019 : Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks (3)
04-May-2019 : Gilfach Farm, Powys (3)
30-Apr-2019 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)
22-Apr-2019 : Hackpen Hill, Oxon (7)

11-Jun-2018 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)
20-May-2018 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (9)
15-May-2018 : Lardon Chase, Berks (1)
09-May-2018 : Rodborough Common, Glos (3)
07-May-2018 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1)
21-Apr-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (2m)

08-Jun-2017 : Paklenica National Park, Croatia
06-Jun-2017 : Irinovac, Croatia
28-May-2017 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (1)
14-May-2017 : Rodborough Common, Glos (1)
07-May-2017 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (5)
09-Apr-2017 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (8m)

29-May-2016 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (2)
28-May-2016 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (2)
15-May-2016 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)
08-May-2016 : Rodborough Common, Glos (7+)

19-Jun-2015 : Dunkery Hill, Somerset (1)
18-Jun-2015 : Haddon Hill, Somerset (10+)
30-May-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (2)
16-May-2015 : Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks (7)
16-May-2015 : Pitstone, Bucks (8)
04-May-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1)
25-Apr-2015 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (1)
18-Apr-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (10+m,1f)