Norfolk hawker

Aeshna isosceles


The Norfolk hawker is a large hawker dragonfly which is on the wing for a short period during June and the very beginning of July. A rare dragonfly, it is found in the marshes and fens of the Norfolk Broads along ditches where the aquatic plant, water soldier, grows. It needs unspoilt grazing marsh with non-saline water to survive. Having spent up to two years in the water, mature dragonfly larvae climb on to emerging vegetation at night, where they moult into adult dragonflies, leaving behind a cast known as an 'exuviae'. Newly emerged Norfolk hawkers wait until early morning to fly off to other areas to feed but will take another two to three weeks to reach maturity.

How to identify

The Norfolk hawker is entirely pale brown but for a yellow triangle at the base of the body. It is similar to the larger brown hawker but paler in colour with green eyes and clear wings.

Where to find it

Only found in the Norfolk Broads and other high quality wetlands in Norfolk and Suffolk.

When to find it

  • June
  • July

How can people help

The Norfolk Broads is an inland waterway and a very special area of fen, marshland and reedbed; along with the Suffolk Broads, it is the UK's largest protected area of wetland and has National Park status. Many organisations and individuals work together within the Park to conserve and enhance its rare habitats for the benefit of both wildlife and people. Norfolk Wildlife Trust is one of these partners and has a number of nature reserves in the area which it protects for local wildlife like the rare Norfolk hawker. Become a member and support the work of your local Wildlife Trust.

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Species information

Common name
Norfolk hawker
Latin name
Aeshna isosceles
Dragonflies and damselflies
Length: 6.7cm
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.