Estonian Nature Tours     Estonian Nature Tours
Why Estonia?
About us
Tour Calendar
Wildlife holidays
Butterfly &
Dragonfly tours
Mammal watching
Bargain tours &
Sheduled trips
Short Breaks
Tour reports
Tour leaders
Nature videos
Travel & more
Contact us

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


Butterflies and dragonflies in Estonia

Weavers Fritillary (Clossiana dia) /  David Dennis

David Dennis, National Chair of Butterfly Conservation UK visited Estonia! The first butterfly tour in Estonia organised by Estonian Nature Tours for UK butterfly enthusiasts took place in early June this year and proved a great success.

For futher information on Butterfly and Dragonfly trips we have on offer, plus booking details, terms and conditions please phone or e-mail us:

Tel:  +372 5349 6695 / E-mail:



Scarce Fritillary (Euphydryas maturna) / Wilfred Powell     

Despite its small size and northern position Estonia is a wonderful place to see butterflies and dragonflies. Because of its history, large parts of the country have remained completely wild, while farming methods in many areas are unintensive resulting in a mosaic of excellent habitats such as numerous flowery meadows, natural forests and massive bog areas. 

Clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne) / Mike Williams

As a result we have many insect species which are rare elsewhere in Europe, such as Clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne), Moorland Clouded Yellow (Colias palaeno), Large Copper (Lucaena dispar), Siberian Winter Damsel (Sympecma paedisca) and Lilypad Whiteface (Leucorrhinia caudalis)

Siberian Winter Damselfly (Sympecma paedisca) / Peeter Vissak

There is a large overlap of southern and northern species here.  Many species with a more northern distribution reach the southern part of their range including butterflies such as Baltic Grayling (Oeneis jutta), Lapland Ringlet (Erebia embla) and Northern Chequered Skipper (Carterocephal silvicolus) plus dragonflies like Bog Hawker (Aeshna subarctica) and Arctic Bluet (Coenagrion johanssoni)

Northern Chequered Skipper ( carterocephal silvicolus) / Wilfred Powell

Weaver’s Fritillary (Clossiana dia), Woodland Brown (Lopinga achine) and many other species reach their furthest north, particulalry where limstone reaches the surtface. 

Poplar Admiral (Limenitis populi) / Wilfred Powell        

Woodland Brown (Lopinga achine) / Wilfred Powell


For other species this is the centre of their distribution in Europe including several of the delightful ’Whiteface’ dragonflies such as Ruby, Yellow-spotted and Dark Whitefaces (Leucorrhinia rubicunda, L. pectoralis and L. albifrons) as well as the coastal Baltic Hawker (Aeshan serrata) and butterflies such as Cranberry Blue (Plebejus optilete) Bog Fritillary (Proclossiana eunomia) and Cranberry Fritillary (Boloria aquilonaris).


Bog Fritillary (Proclossiana eunomia) / Mike Williams

In March and April the first harbingers of spring - Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) and Camberwell Beauty (Nymphalis antiopa) - that have been overwintering as an imagos become active but it is the summer when the insect activity reaches its peak. June to August is the flight time for the most eye-catching butterfly of Europe - Swallowtail (Papilio machaon), also for Purple and Lesser Purple Emperors (Apatura iris and A. ilia), Chestnut Heath (Coenonympha glycerion), Scarce Fritillary (Euphydryas maturna) and Northern Wall Brown (Lasiommata petropolitana).

Europe-Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) / Peeter Vissak

August is the best time to search for dragonflies with Hawkers, Whitefaces and stunning Brilliant and Northern Emeralds (Somatochlora metallica and S. Arctica) on the wing.  A careful search amongst the slender sedge leaves may reveal tiny Sedgling damselfies (Nehallennia speciosa) or Dark Bluets (Coenagrion armatum).   Several rare dragonfly species can be found until late October if the weather is suitable.

Read about Butterflies & Dragonflies Promotional tour in Estonia...