Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi


The Green Hairstreak is found in a wide range of habitats including moorland, disused quarries and railway lines, scrubby hillsides.and heathland. It requires warm open areas with some scrub and shelter from the wind.


The Green Hairstreak is the smallest of the hairstreaks and is the only British butterfly with a truly green underside. As the wings are always held closed when perched, it is unlikely to be confused with other species. The brown uppersides are rarely seen. Both sexes are similar in appearance, but behaviour is quite different. Males spend much of their time perched on vegetation defending their territory, whereas females are less conspicuous.

Flight times

Green Hairstreaks are single brooded and overwinter in the chrysalis stage so emerge quite early in late April. They remain on the wing until the end of June.

Food plants

Eggs are laid on a wide variety of plants, often associated with Gorse, Bilberry & Broom, but also various members of the pea family including Common Bird's-foot-trefoil.

Green Hairstreak
Green Hairstreak - © Simon Jenkins.

Distribution Maps

Green Hairstreak distribution map 2005-09
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2010-14
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2015-19
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2005-19

Distribution has expanded significantly in the Peak District, and there are encouraging signs of more records from other parts of the region.

Green Hairstreak distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 63
First sighting 13/04/2015
Last sighting 12/08/2015
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2016
2016 Summary
No of tetrads 64
First sighting 18/04/2016
Last sighting 08/06/2016
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2017
2017 Summary
No of tetrads 60
First sighting 05/04/17
Last sighting 25/06/2017
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2018
2018 Summary
No of tetrads 74
First sighting 21/04/2018
Last sighting 25/06/2018
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2019
2019 Summary
No of tetrads 109
First sighting 29/03/2019
Last sighting 25/07/2019
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2020
2020 Summary
No of tetrads 111
First sighting 05/04/2020
Last sighting 26/07/2020
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2021
2021 Summary
No of tetrads 74
First sighting 14/04/2021
Last sighting 16/07/2021
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2022
2022 Summary
No of tetrads 69
First sighting 27/03/2022
Last sighting 17/06/2022

Photo Gallery

Similar or Easily Confused Species and ID Hints

Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi

Old and overmature Green Hairstreak can lose much of their green colouration, leaving only a dull brown. This can cause confusion with other small brown butterflies.

Green Hairstreak
A worn Green Hairstreak lacking most of its green colouration - © Simon Jenkins