Brown hawker

Brown Hawker

©Richard Burkmar

Brown hawker

Scientific name: Aeshna grandis
A common dragonfly of canals, marshes, reedbeds and lakes, the Brown hawker can be seen patrolling the water or 'hawking' through woodland rides. It is easily distinguished by its chocolate-brown body.

Species information


Length: 7.3cm

Conservation status


When to see

June to September


The Brown hawker is a large hawker dragonfly that is on the wing from the end of June through to September. It is a common dragonfly of well-vegetated canals, marshes and reedbeds, as well as lakes and flooded gravel pits. It can be spotted patrolling a regular hunting territory, which it will defend aggressively against intruders. It can be found some distance from its breeding grounds, hawking woodland rides late into the evening. Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies; they catch their insect-prey mid-air and can hover or fly backwards.

How to identify

Even in flight, the Brown hawker can be easily recognised by its entirely chocolate-brown body and tiny yellow-and-blue markings. The wings are golden-orange in colour and the male has a noticeable 'waisted' appearance.


Found in England, Northern Ireland and parts of Wales.

Did you know?

The larvae of dragonflies eat aquatic insects, tadpoles and small fish.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way. Encourage dragonflies and damselflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. To find out more about gardening for wildlife, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.