Buff-tip moth

Buff-tip Moth

┬ęTom Marshall

Buff-tip Moth Caterpillars

┬ęChris Lawrence

Buff-tip moth

Scientific name: Phalera bucephala
It is so easy to miss this clever little moth. It is a master of disguise, blending in perfectly as it looks just like the twig of a birch tree! Flying only at night, the buff-tip moth can be seen from May to July.

Species information


Wingspan: 4.4-6.8cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to July


Blink and you may miss the buff-tip moth, which blends in perfectly with its surroundings, looking just like the twig of a birch tree. A night-flying moth, this amazing creature can be seen between May and July. The caterpillars are big, hairy and yellow with a black head and a ring of short black stripes and often gather together in large numbers.

How to identify

The buff-tip holds its wings against its body and looks remarkably similar to a birch twig. It is mainly silvery-grey in colour, with a square-cut, buffy head, and a buff patch at the end of the wings which gives it the common name.



Did you know?

When it sits motionless, the colouring, shape and buff-coloured wingtips of the buff-tip moth make it perfectly camouflaged: it looks just like a broken birch twig.

How people can help

To attract butterflies and moths into your garden, plant nectar-rich borders for them to feed along and climbing ivy and shrubs for overwintering insects. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird and animal food, feeders and homes, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts.