The Mourning Cloak butterfly is normally seen throughout the United States and most of Canada. When the wings are open, both the male and the female show a dark maroon, or sometimes brown, hue with roughly-defined edges that are pale yellow. There is a demarcation in black between the maroon and the yellow parts of the wings that are spotted with bright, iridescent blue spots.


Mourning Cloak” by Tom Benson, licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Mourning Cloak Facts

Butterfly Family: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Butterfly Subfamily: Nymphalinae

Butterfly Wingspan: 2 1/4 – 4 inches

Butterfly Habitat: Because Mourning Cloaks roam and migrate, they are found almost anywhere that host plants occur including woods, openings, parks, and suburbs; especially in riparian areas.


Mourning Cloak Host and Nectar Plants

Host Plants:

  • Willows
  • American Elm
  • Birch
  • Cottonwood
  • Hackberry

Nectar Plants:

  • Tree Sap