Purple Hairstreak

Favonius quercus


The Purple Hairstreak is a small butterfly, which flies in the summer between the end of June and early September. It is very rarely seen as it spends most of its time perched on leaves at the top of Oak trees. Very occasionally, it does come down to ground-level, but it is best spotted with binoculars: males can sometimes be seen chasing each other in the treetops. Found in Oak woods and on single Oak trees in parkland or along hedgerows.

How to identify

If seen well, the Purple Hairstreak is unmistakeable. Females are black above, with a purple patch on the forewings, while males are almost entirely purple above with a black border. Underside is a silvery-grey, with an orange eyespot on the hindwing.

Where to find it

Fairly widespread in England, Wales and southern and central Scotland.


When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for Purple Hairstreaks and other butterflies. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for butterflies.

Species information

Common name
Purple Hairstreak
Latin name
Favonius quercus
Butterflies and moths
Wingspan: 3.3-4cm
Conservation status