Tag Archives: Small Copper



side view of a Small Copper with wings partially closed resting on a leaf

Small Copper. Photo: Dave Law

Dave tells us:


A quick walk along the riverbank of Sturminster meadow on 19/8 /18. No sign of any second brood Small Tortoiseshell larval nests but came across two male Small Coppers battling for a territory.  The winner then posed nicely for a picture.  Also flying were Common Blues.

There are typically 2 or 3 generations each year, depending on the weather, with 4 generations in extremely good years. The first adults emerge in May, occasionally at the end of April, with the last adults being seen around the middle of October.

view of a Small Copper resting on a grass head

Small Copper. Photo: Ann Barlow


Ann found this Small Copper in DWT’s Corfe Mullen Meadow reserve on 22/07/18The Small Copper is a fast flying butterfly that, once settled, is unmistakable with its bright copper-coloured forewings. It is a widespread species and occurs in discrete colonies throughout the British Isles, but is absent from mountainous areas and far north-west Scotland, the Outer Hebrides and Shetland. Most colonies are fairly small, with just a few adults being seen on the wing at any one time.

View of a Small Copper showing blue spots resting opper hind-wings, resting on a leaf

Small Copper, abb. Photo: Andy Martin

view of a Small Copper wwwwwith open wings, eresting on an non flowering plant

Small Copper. Photo: Andy Martin

Andy photographed the top Small Copper abb. butterfly at Southbourne on 24/04/18 , and the one above at Ulwell on 25/04/18.

He tells us he saw two at Southbourne , both showing the blue spots on the upper hind-wings which is he says a common aberration. At Ulwell he found nine Small Coppers in the space of an hour, and none of them had the blue spot aberration.

He has been checking both sites weekly since mid March and his first sighting of this butterfly was on 24/04/18.

All the early butterflies we expect to see, apart from those coming out of hibernation, are late this year due to the cold ,and often wet weather. For those who record butterflies it is a mixture of joy and relief when the first ones are seen, especially after a bad year for butterfly numbers generally.

View of a Small Copper showiung uper Fore and hind-wings resting on grass

Small Copper. Photo: Andy Martin

View of a Small Copper with closed wings resting on a fingertip

Small Copper. Photo: Andy Martin

Andy found this Small Copper at Ulwell on 16/11/17.

This is another very late sighting and it was a very accommodating butterfly, resting on Andy’s fingertip for a photograph.

Andy says it was very sunny that day, and he also saw four very active Clouded Yellows at the same site.

We have had some very cold nights and frosty mornings, so it is amazing that butterflies are still on the wing. Which species will be  the last to be recorded this year?

View of a |Small Coppper on heather seed heads showing upper fore-wings

Small Copper. Photo: Penny Hawes

Penny  found this Small Copper on Hartland Moor on 27/10/17

and tells us

Still a large number of Red Admirals about, and a few Peacocks. I found this Small Copper on Hartland Moor, near the Sharford Bridge path. A few Speckled Woods there too.

This is yet another late sighting, as Small Coppers are usually in flight from May – early October in the UK from one or two broods.

view of a vibrant Small Copper nectaring on Ragwort

Small Copper. Photo: Roger Gall

This vibrant Small Copper was photographed by Roger around the 18/09/17 at West Cliff on Portland.

This beautiful little butterfly flies from late April-late Oct and has one to two broods. The caterpillars feed on Docks and Sorrells.

It doesn’t favour any one particular habitat, so can be seen flying in grassy flowery places, coastal regions and parks and gardens in the UK.

Side view of Small copper on a stony area

Small Copper. Photo: Richard Belding

Taken by Richard by the side of the Weymouth Relief Road on 18/07/2017. He says, though it was windy, he recorded 14 species.

The Small Copper can have three broods in one year. This will be from the second brood and may breed to cause a third brood seen in later September and early October. The first Small Copper this year was reported to the website on 27 March. Have a look at the comparison between last year and this on our This year v last year page and you will see that the whole of last year brought 160 sightings to the website, while we are only in the middle of the second brood this year and have already recorded 129.