Migrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta

European common name: Migrant Hawker

The Migrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta, is a mid-sized dragonfly and despite the name it is firmly established in the region.



Mid-sized dragonfly, but one of the smaller Hawkers and only a little larger than the Hairy Dragonfly – Brachytron pratense. Less territorial than other Hawkers and may be present in large numbers.

The male is colourful, with prominent blue markings arranged in pairs either side of the medial line, on a light and dark brown abdomen that gives a tortoiseshell-like appearance when viewed at close quarters. A diagnostic yellow funnel shaped or ‘golf tee’ marking is visible on segment 2 of the thorax. A pair of prominent yellow patches are present on each side of the thorax, angling down from the wings towards the head. The eyes are blue above and pale brown below and appear spotted. The frons is yellow. Immature males have pale greyish lilac spots rather than blue. Mature males may also exhibit temperature related colour changes that can make them appear more grey-lilac in cooler weather.

The female resembles the male but with less colourful markings, with pale yellow rather than blue spots, and pale brown eyes. The female shares the same yellow ‘golf tee’ marking as the male on S2.

The wings are clear with brown pterostigma.

In both sexes the appendages are noticeably long and thin.

Overall length: 54 – 64 mm
Wings: 37 – 41 mm

Distinctive and colourful, unlikely to be confused with other dragonflies in the region, possible confusion species are listed below.

  • Southern Hawker – Aeshna cyanea
    The Southern Hawker is noticeably larger, and generally greener in appearance, with prominent broad antehumeral shoulder stripes, and largely green sides to the thorax. The male is brighter in appearance, with pairs of green spots along the length of the abdomen, except for larger blue markings on segments 8, 9 and 10. The female appears much more green, with a green thorax and larger green abdominal spots. Both sexes have broad markings across segments 9 and 10 that are not divided at the medial line, and appendages that are shorter than the Migrant Hawker.
  • Hairy Dragonfly – Brachytron pratense
    The Hairy Dragonfly is a little smaller, noticeably hairy, and emerges earlier in the year – usually before the flight season of the Migrant Hawker.

Most waters are suitable, as long as emergent vegetation exists.

Common throughout the county and found at many still water sites and slow rivers. Reported at Felmersham NR, Priory CP, Marston Vale CP, Willington, Wrest Park.

Visible from mid-July to early November, peaking in August and September.

Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixta Mature male, Kempston
Male Migrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta
Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixta Female, Kempston
Female Migrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta

External links for Migrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta:
British Dragonfly Society | Wikipedia