Butterflies are a beautiful and important part of the UK’s wildlife.

They are highly sensitive indicators of the health of the environment and play crucial roles in the food chain as well as being pollinators of plants.

  • The UK has 59 species of butterflies – 57 resident species of butterflies and two regular migrants – the Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow.
  • Five species of butterfly have become extinct in the last 150 years. These are the Mazarine Blue, Large Tortoiseshell, Black-veined White, Large Copper and Large Blue. (Large Blue was successfully reintroduced in 1992)
  • The State of the UK’s Butterflies 2022 report found that 80% of butterfly species in the UK have decreased in either abundance, distribution, or both since 1976.
Small Copper Butterfly - Matt Berry

Identify a butterfly

Spotted a butterfly but not sure which one? Use our handy ID page to find out. 

Purple Emperor - Iain H Leach

A-Z of butterflies

If you know which butterfly you would like more information on, use our butterfly A to Z.

Chalk Hill Blue - Peter Eeles

Gardening for butterflies

Butterflies will visit any garden, however small if they can feed on nectar plants. A well thought out garden can attract more than 20 species of butterfly. 

Learn more about butterflies 

Brimstone (female/egglaying) - Matt Berry

The State of Britain's Butterflies

Read our influential report, with results from our world-leading recording and monitoring schemes.

Comma  - Rob Blanken

Why butterflies matter

Find out why butterflies are so important.

Duke of Burgundy (male/underwing) - Adam Gor

Recording butterflies

Butterflies are extremely valuable indicators of the state of the environment. Butterfly Conservation runs schemes to record and monitor them which involve over 15,000 volunteer recorders.