Common hawker

Aeshna juncea

About

The common hawker is a large hawker dragonfly which is on the wing from the end of June through to October. It is a species found mainly in the uplands of the north and west, particularly moorland pools and lakes as well as garden ponds. Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies; they catch their insect-prey mid-air and can hover or fly backwards.

How to identify

Mostly black in colour, the male common hawker has pale blue spots and yellow flecks all along the body, dark blue eyes and pale yellow and blue patches on the thorax. The female has yellowish spots and brownish eyes. The black-and-blue hawkers are a tricky group of dragonflies to identify. The common hawker is larger and darker than the migrant hawker, lacks the lime green spots of the southern hawker and has more black and less blue than the rare azure hawker of northern Scotland. All the spots on the common hawker are separated whereas the spots on S8-10 on the southern hawker are joined.

Where to find it

Widespread, although mostly absent from the south and east of England.

Habitats

When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife, including the common hawker. But these precious sites are under threat from development, drainage and climate change. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Common hawker
Latin name
Aeshna juncea
Category
Invertebrates
Dragonflies and damselflies
Statistics
Length: 7.4cm
Conservation status
Common.