Hummingbird hawk moth

  • Scientific name: Macroglossum stellatarum
  • Type: Insects

Key information

The hummingbird hawk moth is hairy with a dark, white-spotted abdomen, mousey-grey forewings and golden-orange hindwings.

It is so named as it can be easily mistaken for a hummingbird as it hovers, probing flowers for nectar with its long proboscis. In fact, it is smaller than any hummingbird.

The wings beat so fast they make an audible hum. They fly during the day and can be seen throughout lowland Britain in the summer. Hummingbird hawk moths cannot survive the British winter, so migrate to and from southern Europe in autumn and spring.

The caterpillars, about 50 mm long, are colourful. They have a green or reddish-brown body with white dots, white, dark and yellow horizontal stripes and a blue, yellow-tipped horn.

What they eat:

Adults drink nectar from flowers, such as honeysuckle and Buddleia. Caterpillars eat bedstraws.


About 50mm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Flower border Hanging basket Hedge Herb garden Meadow area Patio Shrub Window box

Where and when to see them

You can often spot hummingbird hawk moths hovering and probing nectar-rich flowers. You can also see them in parks.

You see them during summer months.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec