Red Admiral

Vanessa atalanta


A fairly large black, white and red butterfly, the Red Admiral is an impressive visitor to our gardens where it can be spotted feeding on Buddleia and other flowers. Adults sometimes hibernate, and may be seen flying on warm days throughout the year, although they are most common in the summer and early autumn. The caterpillars feed on Common Nettles.

How to identify

Unmistakeable: the Red Admiral is mainly black with broad, red stripes on the hind and forewings, and white spots near the tips of the forewings.

Where to find it

Found right across the country.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Butterflies such as the Red Admiral will happily visit your garden and are a joy to watch. To attract Red Admirals into your garden, plant Buddleia bushes and nectar-rich borders for them to feed on, and leave patches of nettles for the caterpillars. For overwintering insects, plant climbing Ivy and shrubs. 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
Red Admiral
Latin name
Vanessa atalanta
Butterflies and moths
Wingspan: 6.4-7.8cm
Conservation status