There are 5 species of hairstreak butterfly in the UK. Like all butterflies, this group is at risk of habitat destruction, especially from development and changes in farming practices.
The Black Hairstreak and Brown Hairstreak have faced losses due to inappropriate hedgerow and woodland edge management. The White-letter Hairstreak has suffered due to Dutch elm disease since the 1970s. Even the more common Purple Hairstreak and Green Hairstreak have suffered declines in recent years.
The Oxford and Ampthill Clays are the only place in the UK where all five of the hairstreak family of butterflies can be found. We need to protect this unique location and ensure all of these beautiful butterflies have a safe future.
The Five Hairstreak project of the UK's Butterfly Conservation charity aims to protect the Black Hairstreak and Brown Hairstreak in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire area, working with local land managers to enhance the networks of hedgerows they rely on. It also promotes the planting of native elms for White-letter Hairstreak. The project aims to raise the profile of hairstreak butterflies encouraging people to find out more about them and submit their sightings, providing valuable information on the behaviour of these important butterflies.
I provided support to the Five Hairstreak Project in the form of two videos on the Black and Brown Hairstreak's and stills covering site management, volunteer work, butterfly egg identification, tree planting and more.
Although not part of the Five Hairstreak Project, the following video was filmed exclusively at the Finemere Wood reserve of the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) and features a rare Black Hairstreak along with other beautiful butterfly species.