A beautiful and unusual moth that looks like a Hummingbird in flight appears to have had a bumper year in 2022, with an estimated ten-fold increase in sightings reported across the UK.

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation have reported an influx of people getting in touch with them last summer after spotting the insects, with many stating that it was the first time they had seen the species.

Unlike many moth species, Humming-bird Hawk-moths are often spotted during the day, hovering at flowers while feeding on nectar using their inch-long, curved proboscis.

The species is an immigrant from southern Europe and North Africa, and can now occur widely across the UK, with sightings reported across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in 2022.

Dr Richard Fox, Head of Science at Butterfly Conservation, said: “We only have provisional figures at the moment for how many Humming-bird Hawk-moths were spotted in 2022, but they do suggest a huge increase on recent years. 2022 was an amazing year for moth immigration in the UK, with what I am sure will ultimately prove to be the largest influxes ever recorded for several species, so it will be no surprise if it also proves to have been a great year for Humming-bird Hawk-moth.

“We don’t yet know whether we’ll see even greater numbers of Humming-bird Hawk-moths this summer, but with moth migration to the UK increasing overall as species respond to the changing climate, there’s a good chance more and more people are likely to be able to enjoy watching this spectacular insect.”

Humming-bird Hawk-moths are usually seen flying between May and September, but there are occasional sightings of them throughout the year and several have already been reported this year. They are found in many habitats, including gardens, which is where many of the people who reported their sighting to Butterfly Conservation spotted them.

The insects particularly like tubular flowers with a good supply of nectar, so if you are keen to attract them to your garden this summer, having plants like honeysuckle, buddleia or red valerian might help. The moth will dart from flower to flower as it feeds, looking very much like the Hummingbird it is named after.