Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyanea  

Adult Size

Overall length: 67 - 76mm   Hindwing length: 43 - 51mm

Distinguishing features

A large, inquisitive hawker usually seen individually. Males will often fly up to people to investigate them. Antehumeral stripes are very thick and bright in colour. Britain’s most colourful looking Hawker.

Identification - for help with terms see glossary

Mature males

The male is brightly marked on a dark background, having pairs of bright apple green spots except for segments 8-10, which are pale blue which gives the impression of stripes. Antehumeral stripes are thick apple green. Eyes are bright blue.

Immature males

Resemble the adults but have a pale brown base colour the dots and stripes are pale yellow. The eyes also pale brown.

Mature females

Have typically pairs of apple green yellow dots against brown abdominal segments, where segments 8 -10 become stripes of green. The antehumeral stripes are thick and apple green. The eyes are green-brow.

Immature females

Resemble immature males having a light brown base colour with pale yellow dots. The eyes are also pale brown.


Breeds in a variety of well vegetated water bodies such as ponds, lakes and canals. Often found in urban areas in parks and garden ponds.


Hunts well away from water and may be found hawking woodland rides well into the evening. Will ‘buzz’ people and animals. Males are territorial and will chase other males and other species.

Status and distribution

Very common in southern and central England and Wales. Common and widespread in Dorset.


Flight period

Main flight period is June to November, peaking between July, August & September.

Similar species

The Southern Hawker can occur in habitat that supports 3 other blue Hawkers in the south: Common Hawker, Migrant Hawker and Hairy Dragonfly. The bright green colour of the adults and inquisitive nature of males are characteristic.

More photographs

Click on the photos below to enlarge...


Mature Male

Mature Female

Immature Male

Immature Female 

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