This is a large unmistakable hawkmoth, with hindwings that project well forward of the forewings when at rest. The wings can have a pinkish or violet tinge with chestnut patches. There is also a buff form. Each forewing has a creamish-white mark. Wingspan 65 to 90mm.
The caterpillar feeds on Poplar, Aspen, and willow and sallows.
Flies May to early August. Attracted to light. Found in various habitats where the larval foodplant grows, including woodland and heathland, parks and gardens. A resident species, and the most common and widespread hawkmoth in the British Isles.
Photographs taken July 2007, rear garden, Staffordshire. Camera Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1. © Pete Hillman 2007.