The Small Copper is usually seen in ones and twos, but in some years large numbers may be found at good sites. Males are territorial, often choosing a piece of bare ground or a stone on which to bask and await passing females. They behave aggressively towards any passing insects, returning to the same spot when the chase is over.

Though it remains a common and widespread species, the Small Copper declined throughout its range during the twentieth century. Widespread, and occasionally visits gardens. 

Size and Family

  • Family: Coppers
  • Size: Small
  • Wing Span Range (male to female): 32-35mm

Caterpillar Foodplants

Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and Sheep's Sorrel (R. acetosella) are the main foodplants. Broad-leaved Dock (R. obtusifolius) may be occasionally used.



Occurs in a wide variety of habitats. Commonly found on chalk or unimproved grassland, heathland, woodland clearings, waste ground and moorland. Warm, dry conditions are favoured.