The Peacock's spectacular pattern of eyespots, evolved to startle or confuse predators, make it one of the most easily recognized and best known species. It is from these wing markings that the butterfly gained its common name. Undersides of the wings are very dark and look like dead leaves. A fairly large butterfly and a strong flyer.

Although a familiar visitor to garden buddleias in late summer, the Peacock's strong flight and nomadic instincts lead it to range widely through the countryside, often finding its preferred habitats in the shelter of woodland clearings, rides, and edges.

The species is widespread and has continued to expand its range in northern parts of Britain and Ireland.

Size and Family

  • Family: Nymphalids
  • Size: Medium/Large 
  • Wing Span Range (male to female): 63-69mm

Conservation Status 

  • Butterfly Conservation priority: Low                          
  • European status: Not threatened 

Caterpillar Foodplants

Common Nettle (Urtica dioica), although eggs and larvae are occasionally reported on  Small Nettle (U. urens) and Hop (Humulus lupulus).



Common and found in a range of habitats.


  • Countries:  England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
  •  Found throughout Britain and Ireland
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = +17%

Peacock - Andrew Cooper

Peacock (upperwing)

Peacock - Iain Leach


Peacock (upperwing) - Adam Gor

Peacock (upperwing)

Peacock (underwing) - Adam Gor

Peacock (underwing)

Peacock (Overwintering) - Iain Leach

Peacock (Overwintering)

Peacock (caterpillar) - Ryszard Szczygieł

Peacock (caterpillar)

Peacock (caterpillar) - Ryszard Szczygieł

Peacock (caterpillar)

Peacock (pupa) - Adam Grochowalski

Peacock (pupa)