The species feeds on grasses with medium to high production.
Ochlodes sylvanus is found on forest clearings and in forest fringes, in bushy grasslands, wetlands, in rarely mown open land and in natural gardens. The caterpillars can be found from xerothermic grasslands at Brachypodium pinnatum over clearcuts with Calamagrostis to wet fen meadows with Phalaris arundinacea or Molinia.
Ochlodes sylvanus hibernates as L3/L4 and is mature in May/early June. The adults fly from June to mid-August. The young caterpillars are often found in August and September by the characteristic feeding scars.
South of the Alps Ochlodes sylvanus flies partly in two generations.
Ochlodes sylvanus is not endangered.
The spread ranges across the temperate zone from Spain to Japan.