Here are 2020's earliest sightings of resident and common migrant butterflies, as reported to Butterfly Conservation.

Please remember that, in accordance with current UK Government restrictions, you must not make any journeys away from home in order to record butterflies, as these would be considered non-essential journeys. As many sites in the countryside can no longer be visited without unnecessary travel, some species may go unrecorded this year or not be seen until long after their flight period has started.

Orange-tips are being reported quite widely now (although an abnormally early one was seen on 29 January in Somerset - not listed below) and the first Small Copper and Grizzled Skipper have been spotted.

To count as first sightings, butterflies must be seen outside and be active (i.e. not in hibernation). If you are confident that you've seen a butterfly species in the UK this year that has not yet been reported below, please contact @email. You can follow all the latest sightings, as they happen, on Twitter @RichardFoxBC or on Butterfly Conservation's Facebook page.

If you would like to get involved with butterfly recording, not just for first sightings, but to contribute to our assessments of UK trends and to underpin conservation, you can download our free recording app or find out how to take part.

Last update: 1 April 2020

Vernacular name Scientific name Date Location
Swallowtail  Papilio machaon    
Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages    
Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae 31 March Sussex
Chequered Skipper Carterocephalus palaemon    
Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola    
Small Skipper  Thymelicus sylvestris    
Lulworth Skipper  Thymelicus acteon    
Silver-spotted Skipper  Hesperia comma    
Large Skipper  Ochlodes sylvanus    
Wood White  Leptidea sinapis    
Cryptic Wood White  Leptidea juvernica    
Orange-tip  Anthocharis cardamines 22 March Nottinghamshire & Surrey
Large White  Pieris brassicae 10 Jan Hertfordshire
Small White  Pieris rapae 26 Feb Wiltshire
Green-veined White  Pieris napi 6 March Worcestershire
Clouded Yellow Colias croceus    
Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni 4 Jan Cambridgeshire
Wall  Lasiommata megera    
Speckled Wood  Pararge aegeria 16 March Isles of Scilly
Large Heath  Coenonympha tullia    
Small Heath  Coenonympha pamphilus    
Mountain Ringlet Erebia epiphron    
Scotch Argus Erebia aethiops    
Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus    
Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina    
Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus    
Marbled White Melanargia galathea    
Grayling Hipparchia semele    
Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria euphrosyne    
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary Boloria selene    
Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia    
Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja    
High Brown Fritillary Argynnis adippe    
White Admiral Limenitis camilla    
Purple Emperor Apatura iris    
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta 1 Jan Conwy
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui 21 Jan Gloucestershire
Peacock Aglais io 1 Jan Conwy, Somerset & Yorkshire
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae 1 Jan Northamptonshire
Comma Polygonia c-album 4 Jan Buckinghamshire
Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia    
Glanville Fritillary Melitaea cinxia    
Heath Fritillary Melitaea athalia    
Duke of Burgundy  Hamearis lucina    
Small Copper  Lycaena phlaeas 24 March Dorset
Brown Hairstreak Thecla betulae    
Purple Hairstreak Favonius quercus    
Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi    
White-letter Hairstreak Satyrium w-album    
Black Hairstreak Satyrium pruni    
Small Blue  Cupido minimus    
Holly Blue  Celastrina argiolus 8 Jan Hertfordshire
Large Blue  Maculinea arion    
Silver-studded Blue  Plebejus argus    
Brown Argus  Aricia agestis    
Northern Brown Argus  Aricia artaxerxes    
Common Blue  Polyommatus icarus    
Adonis Blue  Polyommatus bellargus    
Chalk Hill Blue  Polyommatus coridon