Scientific name: Favonius quercus
The Purple hairstreak is an elusive butterfly with a brilliant purple sheen. It is entirely reliant on oak trees and can be spotted chasing around the treetops in woodlands and parks.
When to seeJune to September
AboutThe Purple hairstreak is a small butterfly that 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 woodland and on solitary oak trees in parks or along hedgerows.
How to identifyThe Purple hairstreak is an unmistakeable butterfly. Females are black above, with a purple patch on the forewings, while males are almost entirely purple above with a black border. The underside of both sexes is a silvery-grey, with an orange eyespot on the hindwing.
In our area
There are records of this distinctive butterfly at The Ercall and Clunton Coppice nature reserves and they can also be seen in patches of oak woodland on Wenlock Edge and around The Stiperstones.