Grizzled Skipper butterfly

©Andrew Kerr

Grizzled skipper

Scientific name: Pyrus malvae
The Grizzled skipper has a striking brown-and-white checked wing pattern. It is a fast flier, so is best observed in the morning as it basks in the sun to warm up. It favours chalk grassland and woodland habitats.

Species information



Conservation status

Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

April to August


The Grizzled skipper is the smallest of our skippers and the earliest to appear in spring. It has a fast, darting flight pattern, so is easiest to see in the early morning when it basks on bare ground in the sunshine. Grizzled skippers require short, mixed vegetation that is usually created by grazing on chalk grassland or in woodland clearings. The caterpillars feed on a variety of plants, including Wild strawberry, Bramble, Agrimony, Salad burnet and Creeping cinquefoil.

How to identify

The Grizzled skipper has dark brown wings with an intricate, white chequerboard pattern. The wings have white fringes, with dark lines running through them. The Dingy skipper is similar, but is larger and has duller wings.


Found in southern England and North and South Wales.

Did you know?

Although the Grizzled skipper prefers unimproved chalk grassland and woodland rides, it has recently spread on to old industrial sites, such as mineral workings, spoil heaps, railway lines and even rubbish tips!

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland and woodland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of butterflies, including the Green hairstreak. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time, scrub clearance and coppicing are just some of the ways grasslands and woodlands are kept in good condition - supporting invertebrates and, in turn, the larger animals that prey on them. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.