The caterpillars feed on grasses such as Milium effusum, Melica nutans or especially Brachypodium sylvaticum.
Pararge aegeria primarily inhabits forests, but is found more rarely also outside in north facing, tree rich juniper grasslands or parks with trees and extensive meadows. Pararge aegeria rises to about 1400m above sea level. Pararge aegeria has only modest requirements on the habitat and can cope with modern economical forests at least if some light structures still occur.
Usually Pararge aegeria is on the wing in two or three generations from April to September. Hibernation takes place both as pupa (most often) and half-grown caterpillars. These latter I found, for example, in March near Memmingen in Southern Germany. Oviposition takes place preferably in niche situations, such as at the root plates of fallen trees, base of trees or embankments. There I observed caterpillars sometimes in higher density.
Pararge aegeria occurs almost everywhere in the forests in Central Europe. But it needs light spots and small clearings, and may not survive in the dense, low-light spruce forests without such structures.
The distribution extends from Northwest Africa and Madeira across Europe and reaches Asia apparently only in Turkey and surrounding areas as well as in Transcaucasia.
The bright, reddish nominate Subspecies flies in the south, whereas the darker, more yellowish ssp. tircis flies in more northern regions.