The adults have short antennae and have no functioning mouthparts so cannot feed. The caterpillars can be found from July to the following May, overwintering twice underground as larvae so the life cycle takes two years to complete.

Size and Family

  • Family – Swift moths (Helialidae)
  • Medium Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 28-52mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Local (only found in some areas)

Caterpillar Food Plants

Most often Bracken roots (Pteridium aquilinum) but also the roots of Red Fescue (Festuca rubra) where Bracken is absent.


Moorland, rough pasture, heathland and open woodland.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
  • Locally distributed in most parts of mainland Britain the Isle of Man and in Ireland. Most frequent in the north. Absent from large areas of the south and east of England.
Map-winged Swift

Map-winged Swift

Map-winged Swift

Map-winged Swift