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Peacock (Aglais io)

On this page, we have made available all the information we have for this species

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Picture of Peacock
© Eddie John

The familiar Peacock butterfly is a relatively mobile and wide-ranging butterfly of parks, gardens and woodland edges where its larvae feed gregariously on Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) in sheltered situations. The species is expanding its range northwards in northern England and Scotland. (For further details on this species see

Family : Nymphalidae

Status : Stable

Status details :
Status since 1976 is Stable with a increase of 4%
Status over the last 20 years is Stable with a decrease of -29.3%
Status over the last 10 years is Stable with a decrease of -6.6%

Log collated index plot

Species Log Collated Index Plot

This chart shows the index of abundance (LCI = Log Collated Index) over time. It shows fluctuations in populations from year to year, and is scaled so that the average index over the whole series is equal to 2 (horizontal line). For greater detail about how this index is derived, click on the green question mark above.

Trend description :
Though the Peacock has generally increased since 1976, the increase is not significant across the UK and more recently populations have started to decline. However, it has colonised a number of sites in Scotland since monitoring began, reflecting its northward range expansion described in the atlases produced by data from the Butterflies for the New Millennium project, and now is a common butterfly there. Indeed in Scotland the long-term trend for this species is a significant increase and the recent declines seen in England and Wales have not yet been mirrored. This may be the result of climate change and consequent increased overwintering success.

This map shows the distribution between 1995 and 2016. Data is derived from the Butterflies for the New Millenium dataset via the NBN Gateway

Phenology plot
Species Phenology Plot

Phenology plot

This chart shows the average number of butterflies seen on transects between Arpil and October across all sites (fitted values from a Generalised Additive Model). The blue line gives average counts over the full BMS series (1976 to date) and the red line gives the average for the last year.

Species abundance map


This map shows symbols for the mean abundance at transect sites, with the colour of the symbol reflecting the level of abundance. Means are over all years. Grey background squares are the occupied cells as shown by the Butterflies for the New Millenium over the previous ten year period.


In total, Peacock has been recorded from 905 transects in the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. Of these, annual indices of abundance have been calculated from 1006 sites, with an average index of 38 individuals per site.

For 438 of these sites, Peacock has been recorded well enough to calculate annual indices of abundance in more years, allowing trends to be calculated.

In 2018, 19516 individuals were recorded from 626 sites, producing annual indices at 416 of these.

The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme is organized and funded by Butterfly Conservation (BC), the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The UKBMS is indebted to all volunteers who contribute data to the scheme.