Green Hairstreak

Durham Priority Species
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Green Hairstreak Action Plan

Priority Species: Green Hairstreak

1. Protect and enhance existing populations of the Green Hairstreak in the DBAP area
2. Expand the range and size of population of Green Hairstreak
3. Maintain and enhance suitable habitat at known occupied sites and potential sites

Vision Statement: To ensure all known sites have adequate management for the species.

Target Type Unit Value
1. To maintain the range of the green hairstreak in the Durham BAP area. maintain occupied tetrads

The Green Hairstreak is a widespread but local species in the UK, which has been lost from many sites in the Durham BAP area in recent years. The butterfly utilises a wide range of habitats and foodplants but is strongly associated with scrub and shrubs. In Durham most colonies are found on heathland where  bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is the main foodplant.

Green Hairstreak adults from a single brood are on the wing from mid-May to the end of June.  Overwintering as larvae leads to this early emergence.

There is thought to be an association with ants, who bury the pupae, although the range of species is unknown.

Local status

This is an inconspicuous species which may be overlooked, however large colonies are known from a number of sites including Waldridge Fell, Hedleyhope Fell and Hamsterley Forest.   Other colonies are known to have been lost through agricultural land-use changes, but recently several new ones have been discovered on brownfield sites, where gorse (Ulex europaeus) or Broom (Cytisus scoparius) are probable foodplants.


  • Destruction of habitat through agricultural and forestry land-use changes.
  • Shading out of larval foodplant (bilberry) through large scale scrub encroachment.
  • Overgrazing of larval foodplant (bilberry).
  • Isolation of remaining colonies from a combination of the above.