Like the Rhinoceros beetle (previous post), hawk moths are wet-season visitors, with occasional strays turning up as late as the end of May and as early as the end of October. We get several species – Hypotion rosetta and some adults I haven’t identified such as this camouflaged brown one. They generally feed on the wing, like this one.
They often fly in around dusk so we don’t see them as often as we see their caterpillars, which spend all day eating their way through our Pentas plants and will do the same to Madonna lilies if given the chance. (We might like them a bit more if they liked the weeds, actually.) The caterpillars are large – here is one on my hand to give you an idea – and come in green, brown or black, often with eye-spots and usually with a horn on the tail end.