Brown Hawker – Aeshna grandis

European common name: Brown Hawker

The Brown Hawker – Aeshna grandis, is an abundant and easy to spot dragonfly that is often seen late in the day.



A large dragonfly with a predominantly brown body and a definite amber tint to the wings, obvious even from a distance.

Males from directly above look almost completely brown. Each abdominal segment has a pair of small inconspicuous yellow spots. A pair of large blue spots on the dorsal surface of the second abdominal segment, either side of the medial line, provide the only other colour. From the side though, prominent blue spots on the lateral surface of the abdomen, and two yellow stripes on each side of the thorax, are much more visible. The male has a noticeably ‘waisted’ second abdominal segment.

The female from above is almost completely brown, with yellow spots similar to the male, but with paler and smaller blue spots on S2. The abdomen is rather thicker than the male’s, with a slight taper to the tip. From the side the female resembles the male, with more subdued yellow stripes on the thorax.

The eyes are shades of brown and yellow, with the male having blue patches dependant on the viewing angle.

The wings have a yellow-brown or amber tint, rather reminiscent of toffee wrappers in the sun.

Overall length: 70 – 77 mm
Wings: 41 – 49 mm

Not easily confused with other dragonfliles. The Norfolk Hawker – Aeshna isoceles is similar, but less common. The Norfolk Hawker is smaller, has green eyes and lacks the brown tinted wings of the Brown Hawker and is a found a little earlier in the season.

Favours slow rivers and still waters, with logs and roots for ovipositing.

Often seen hawking up and down clearings in woods and across meadows or along the water’s edge. A crepuscular flier, it is active late in the evening.

Very common throughout the county, abundant in the meadows at Felmersham NR and Marston Thrift, and along the River Great Ouse.

Visible from early June to early October, peaking in July and August.

Brown Hawker - Aeshna grandis Female, well away from water in Kempston. This photo shows the brown tint to the wings well, a distinctive feature that's obvious even when flying
Male Brown Hawker – Aeshna grandis
Brown Hawker - Aeshna grandis Female ovipositing at Felmersham NR. Females make probing movements as they oviposit into the soft material of decaying logs and plants. Like other Aeshnidae, Brown Hawkers oviposit alone, without male accompaniment
Female Brown Hawker – Aeshna grandis

External links for Brown Hawker – Aeshna grandis:
British Dragonfly Society | Wikipedia