This medium-sized, spring-flying Andrena is strongly associated with loose, dry sandy soils. The females are quite colourful when fresh, but soon become dowdy. The males, which race over the surface of loose sand in the sun, wear out even more quickly and a bright silver-grey insect rapidly becomes a dull browny-black with few obvious hairs. It is closely related to the similar, but smaller and summer-flying, Andrena argentata Smith.
It is found throughout the British Isles, although scarcer towards the north, also recorded from the Channel Islands and scattered localities in Ireland.
It is widely distributed in northern and central Europe.