Red AdmiralVanessa atalanta


The Red Admiral is a common and widespread species throughout Britain. It is found in almost every habitat and is a familiar visitor to gardens. Actual numbers depend on migration from continental Europe, and North Africa, but it is known to overwinter.


It is unmistakeable with its black, white and red patterning.

Flight times

It has been recorded during every month of the year, but the first major influx occurs during May and June.

Food plants

Eggs are laid singly on young Nettle leaves.

Red Admiral
Red Admiral - © Simon Jenkins.

Distribution Maps

Red Admiral distribution map 2005-09
Red Admiral distribution map 2010-14
Red Admiral distribution map 2015-19
Red Admiral distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 711
First sighting 09/01/2015
Last sighting 07/12/2015
Red Admiral distribution map 2016
2016 Summary
No of tetrads 694
First sighting 29/01/2016
Last sighting 26/12/2016
Red Admiral distribution map 2017
2017 Summary
No of tetrads 941
First sighting 02/01/2017
Last sighting 22/12/2017
Red Admiral distribution map 2018
2018 Summary
No of tetrads 708
First sighting 04/01/2018
Last sighting 03/12/2018
Red Admiral distribution map 2019
2019 Summary
No of tetrads 1056
First sighting 08/01/2019
Last sighting 03/12/2019
Red Admiral distribution map 2020
2020 Summary
No of tetrads 1035
First sighting 02/01/2020
Last sighting 31/12/2020
Red Admiral distribution map 2021
2021 Summary
No of tetrads 848
First sighting 20/02/2021
Last sighting 16/12/2021
Red Admiral distribution map 2022
2022 Summary
No of tetrads 727
First sighting 01/01/2022
Last sighting 28/12/2022

Photo Gallery

Similar or Easily Confused Species and ID Hints

Small White Pieris rapae

Small White are usually smaller and have paler and less extensive wing-tips than the Large White.

Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni

A female Brimstone flying past could be mistaken for a pale or faded Large White. The black wing-tips of the Large White are the key to look for, plus the female Brimstone has a slight greenish colouration. The Brimstone always rests with its wings closed.

Small White
Small White - female - © Christine Maughan
image of Brimstone butterfly
Brimstone - © Christine Maughan