Brown butterfly with white chequered marking in the undergrowth

Grizzled Skipper. Photo: Mel Bray

A small butterfly, out early in the season, sometimes confused with the Dingy Skipper.

Where to see

Habitat: Open/rough ground, clearings

Caterpillar foodplants: Wild Strawberry, Creeping Cinquefoil

Best places: Fontmell Down, Hod Hill, Durlston Country Park, Cerne Abbas, Lankham Bottom, Southfield Hogcliffe

Distribution map

Explore the Atlas to see historical distribution trends for this species.

When to see

May be out in the last week of April, mainly seen in May, might extend into June.

Sightings by month (last 5 years)*:

Sightings this year*:

Browse the sightings archive.


Size: Small

This is a very small butterfly – see the photos showing it on a dandelion flower and on the same flower next to a Small Tortoiseshell. It is probably going to be found on the wing earlier than the Dingy Skipper, with which it can be confused, but they might overlap in late May and June.

The Grizzled has more definite markings than the Dingy Skipper and is usually darker.

There is also a moth on the wing at the same time which might cause some confusion: the Mother Shipton (see photo below).

Photo gallery

Tip: Click thumbnails to view full-size images.

*Note: The charts shown on this page are drawn only from casual sightings submitted to this website. Records from this website will be added to a lot more data collected throughout the year and used to compile the five-yearly Butterfly Atlases for Dorset and the UK.

Find more Grizzled Skipper related content, including news and photos.