Chimney sweeper

Chimney sweeper moth

Chimney sweeper © Rachel Scopes

Chimney sweeper

Scientific name: Odezia atrata
This sooty-black, day-flying moth is active on sunny days, rarely settling in one place for long.

Species information


Wing length: 24-30mm

Conservation status


When to see

Adults fly in June and July, sometimes into August


The chimney sweeper is a day-flying moth that can be seen flying in June and July. In the south of its UK range, it is mostly found on chalk or limestone grasslands. Further north it is more common and lives in a wider range of habitats, especially along streams and in other damp, grassy places.

Chimney sweepers fly on sunny days, though males may also fly in more overcast conditions. They often perch on tall grasses and at suitable sites can be seen in large numbers, making for an impressive spectacle!

How to identify

The chimney sweeper is recognised by its sooty-black body and wings, with a white fringe around the tips of the forewings. They fade to a brownish-black over time. The chimney sweeper is sometimes mistaken for the small blue butterfly.


Widely distributed in central and northern England, and Scotland. Less common and more patchily distributed in southern England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Only historically found on the Isle of Man, and just a single record from the Channel Islands.

Did you know?

Chimney sweepers spend the winter as an egg, laid in summer. The caterpillars hatch around April and feed almost exclusively on the flowers and seeds of pignut, before pupating in the ground.