Phalera bucephala


The Buff-tip is a medium-sized moth that is on the wing at night from June to July. It is quite a common moth in parks and gardens, as well as woodland edges, scrub and hedgerows. The caterpillars are striking: large, hairy and yellow, with a black head and a ring of short black stripes on every segment. They often gather together in large numbers, eating the leaves of lime, birch, Hazel and willow trees, sometimes defoliating whole branches, but rarely causing serious damage. This moth pupates on the ground and overwinters as a chrysalis.

How to identify

Adult Buff-tips hold their wings against the body and look remarkably similar to twigs. They are mainly silvery-grey in colour, with a square-cut, buffy head, and a buff patch at the end of the wings which gives them their name.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • June
  • July

How can people help

Moths such as the Buff-tip are common in gardens - why not set up a moth trap at night and see who comes to visit? To attract moths and butterflies into your garden, plant nectar-rich borders and shrubs for them to feed on. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Phalera bucephala
Butterflies and moths
Wingspan: up to 6.5cm
Conservation status