Meadow Brown

Maniola jurtina

Pete Withers
John Money
Andrew Cooper
Tamás Nestor
Bob Eade
Andrew Cooper

Identification Tip

Meadow Browns look similar to Gatekeeper butterflies, but are larger and have less orange on their wings.

What do they eat?

Caterpillars munch on grasses, including fine-leaved ones such as:

  • Fescues
  • Bents
  • Meadow-grasses

And broad-leaved grasses such as:

  • Cock’s-foot
  • Downy Oat-grass

Adults take nectar from a range of flowers including:

  • Knapweeds (favourite)
  • Thistles (favourite)
  • Brambles
  • Buttercups

Where does it spend the winter?

This butterfly spends the winter as a caterpillar, hiding in dense clumps of grass during the coldest weather but continuing to feed when it is warm enough.

Ideas to help Meadow Brown in your Wild Space



Flying Season

June - October

Life Cycle


June, July, August, September, October


July, August, September, October


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


June, July, August

UK Distribution

Want to learn


There is even more about this species on the main Butterfly Conservation website

Fun Facts
about the Meadow Brown

The bright green caterpillars of the Meadow Brown feed on grasses during the day when they are very young, and switch to night-time feeding as they get older. When they’re not feeding, the caterpillars rest, head down, on a grass stem, deep in the vegetation.