Papilio machaon Linnaeus, 1758



A large yellow butterfly with black markings, and a medium length tail on the hindwing. There is a dark patch in the basal area of the wing. The antennae are black and hooked. Male and female are very similar. The wing shape is quite distinctive though could be confused with P. alexanor, which has a straight, white-tipped antennal club, and the black markings are stripes, without a black basal patch. The submarginal black stripe is narrower and without scalloping.

Habitat Requirements

Found in a wide range of open habitats, e.g. gardens, grasslands, maquis and riverine environments.

Larval Foodplants

Dill Anethum graveolens, Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium - not on Corfu, Coriander Coriandrum sativum, Fennel Foeniculum vulgare, Kumquat Citrus japonica (introduced) Lemon Citrus x limon (introduced) Grapefruit Citrus x paradisi (introduced) Orange Citrus x sinensis (introduced) Lime Citrus x aurantiifolia (introduced). Most commonly encountered on Fennel in Corfu.


Most frequently encountered nectaring, where the butterfly supports its weight with continuous flight above the flower. Usually seen as singletons, it is particularily easy to photograph/video on blooms of the Aromatic Inula Dittrichia vicosa, in the autumn.

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Swallowtail submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 15/02/2023 24/10/2023 251 days
2022 20/03/2022 16/10/2022 210 days
2021 07/03/2021 25/10/2021 232 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 218
2022 164
2021 94
Grand Total 476

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Swallowtail (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Swallowtail (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Swallowtail
  • Family: Papilionidae (Latreille, 1802)
  • Sub-family: Papilioninae (Latreille, [1802])
  • Tribe: Papilionini (Latreille, [1802])
  • Genus: Papilio (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Species: machaon Linnaeus, 1758


For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.