Red Admiral

Vanessa atalanta

Iain H Leach
Tamás Nestor
Adam Gor
Peter Eeles
Ken Dolbear
Andrew Cooper

What do they eat?

Caterpillars munch on:

  • Common Nettle (favourite)
  • Small Nettle
  • Pellitory-of-the-wall
  • Hop

Adults take nectar from a range of flowers including:

  • Blackthorn
  • Ivy
  • Michaelmas-daisies
  • Teasel

They also feed on rotting fruit and sap from trees

Where does it spend the winter?

Some Red Admirals migrate for the winter, to Spain, Portugal, Southern Europe and North Africa. Others stay behind, in parts of Southern England, sheltering in cool, dark places like outhouses, tree hollows and rabbit holes. This appears to be happening more often, as our climate gets milder.



Flying Season

January - December

Life Cycle


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


April, May, June, July, August, September


April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November


July, August, September, October, November

UK Distribution

Want to learn


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

Fun Facts
about the Red Admiral

Most species of butterfly that spend the winter as adults enter a sleep-like state (called torpor), but Red Admirals don’t and may fly about on warmer days, looking for food.