Peacock - Aglais io

Alternative names
Inachis io

The Peacock is a familiar sight in gardens across the British Isles and is unmistakable, with spectacular eyes on the upper side of the hind wings that give this butterfly its name. These eyes must appear very threatening to predators.

Identification difficulty

This butterfly can turn up almost anywhere, given its broad distribution.

When to see it

Adults may be seen at any time of the year, with warm weather waking them from hibernation. The majority emerge from hibernation at the end of March and the beginning of April. These mate and ultimately give rise to the next generation that emerges at the end of July.

Life History

This butterfly is often encountered while hibernating in outbuildings, such as a garage, shed or barn, where they are often in the company of other individuals. Other hibernation sites include hollow trees and woodpiles, where their dark undersides provide excellent camouflage. This butterfly is generally single-brooded. However, in good years, a small second brood may appear. The main larval foodplant is Common Nettle (Urtica dioica).

UK Status

This is a highly mobile butterfly that occurs throughout the British Isles, although it is not found in parts of northern Scotland. Its range does seem to be increasing, with sightings from new areas being recorded every year.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

59.026 BF1597

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map