The males are more brightly coloured and smaller than the females, with a distinctive bright orange-brown forewing and two dark-edged white lines forming an open V. The females are a duller brown. When at rest they hold their elongated wings almost vertically against their body.

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

Size and Family

  • Family – Swift moths (Helialidae)
  • Small / Medium Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 24-52mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Caterpillar Food Plants

The roots of a variety of herbaceous plants including Broad-leaved Dock (Rumex obtusifolius) dandelion, Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) and probably also grasses.


Rough grassy places including gardens, roadside verges, downland, moorland and woodland rides.


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
  • Well distributed from southern England and Wales to the north of mainland Scotland but rarely in uplands areas. Also found in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Orange Swift

Orange Swift

Orange Swift

Orange Swift

Orange Swift

Orange Swift