Common Hawker

Scientific name: Aeshna juncea
A large hawker, the Common Hawker can be seen throughout the summer and into autumn. A fast-flying insect, it catches its prey mid-air. Look for it around ponds in the uplands of the north and west.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 7.4cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to October

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 North Scotland.

Distribution

Widespread, although mostly absent from South and East England.

Did you know?

A shy dragonfly, the Common Hawker is most often seen 'hawking' over its breeding areas looking for prey.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way. Encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.