Southern hawker

Southern Hawker

©David Longshaw

Southern Hawker

©Zsuzsanna Bird

Southern hawker

Scientific name: Aeshna cyanea
A common dragonfly of ponds, lakes and canals near woodland, the Southern Hawker can be seen patrolling the water or 'hawking' through woodland rides. A fast-flying species, it will catch its prey mid-air.

Species information


Length: 7cm

Conservation status


When to see

June to October


The Southern hawker is a large hawker dragonfly that is on the wing from the end of June through to October. A common dragonfly of ponds, lakes and canals in the lowlands, particularly near to woodland, it can be seen patrolling a regular patch of water when hunting, or often 'hawking' through woodland rides. Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies; they catch their insect-prey mid-air and can hover or fly backwards.

How to identify

The Southern hawker is mostly black in colour. The male has lime green spots all along the body, pale blue bands on the last three segments of the abdomen, blue-green eyes, and large green patches on the thorax. The female is paler, with pale green spots and brownish eyes. The black-and-blue hawkers are a tricky group of dragonflies to identify. The Southern hawker can be recognised by its lime green, rather than blue, spots and the large pale patches on its thorax.


Found in England and Wales, but slowly spreading into Scotland.

Did you know?

The Southern hawker is a very inquisitive dragonfly: males will often fly towards the observer, hovering nearby to have a closer look.

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.