Brown Hawker - Aeshna grandis

Adult size

Overall length: 70 - 77mm   Hindwing length: 41 - 49mm

Distinguishing features

A large, almost entirely brown hawker. Both males and females have very distinctive golden-brown wings which makes it easily identifiable.

Identification - for help with terms see glossary

Mature males

Mature males are chocolate brown with small blue and yellow markings, no antehumeral stripes on thorax and the wings are golden-brown. Has thick yellow stripes on thorax when viewed from the side. Eyes are blue-brown.

Mature females

Mature females are very similar in colour to males but lack the blue abdominal markings. Has thick yellow stripes on side of thorax. Eyes are yellow-brown.


Breeds in a variety of still water habitats such as lakes, ponds, gravel pits, and can tolerate slow flowing rivers & canals. Often in garden ponds & parks.


Like other hawkers can be found away from water hawking along rides and hedges. Males can also be seen patrolling over water bodies but are not territorial. Both males and females have a slow distinctive gliding flight. 

Status and distribution

Common and widespread in lowland areas of Britain but is strangely absent from the south west and much of Wales. One of the commonest hawkers in Dorset.


Flight period

Main flight period is June to October, peaking in July & August.

Similar species

Cannot be confused with any other species in Dorset. Resembles Norfolk Hawker but this is restricted in Britain to a few sites in Eastern England.

More photographs

Click on the photos below to enlarge...


 Mature Male

Mature Female 

All photographs by kind permission & © of Ken Dolbear unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.