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Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve is one of the best wildlife sites, with thousands of species to be discovered, from the common resident birds such as Jackdaws, to the endemic Early English Gentian flowers and to the extraordinary Glowworm beetles.

You can keep up to date on the latest wildlife sightings by reading our Daily Diary or by joining our Wildlife Alerts service

'The Wildlife of Durlston', is a record of all the species that have been recorded at Durlston over the years, with new species being added as they are discovered. This list is also to be found in the 'Diversity' display around the walls of the seventhwave.


Lulworth Skipper on Knapweed


The flowers are not only a source of colour but also an important food source for numerous insects, especially butterflies with over 33 species, including many that are nationally rare.

These inhabitants provide a colourful experience from April to September.

The Adonis Blue amongst the Horseshoe Vetch in the company of Dingy Skippers in the spring and Chalkhill Blues in the summer.

The nationally rare Lulworth Skipper is abundant in the longer grass, while the Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Common Blue and Small Skipper can be spotted almost anywhere.

Nectar-rich Thistles, Knapweed and Fleabane attract migrants like the Red Admiral and Painted Lady but the resident Gatekeeper finds Bramble irresistible.

More about Butterflies

Migrant bird - Red-flanked Bluetail

Migrant Birds

Durlston is host to over 250 species of bird and is an important resting place for spring and autumn migrants.

Some migrating birds stay a few days, including Redstart, Wheatear, Pied Flycatcher and Sedge Warbler. Occasionally, a rarity like Hoopoe or Golden Oriole may join them.

Other migrants like the Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffcaff nest in the scrub in the summer, exploiting the rich insect life to feed their young.

A few migrants such as the Redwing and Fieldfare, arrive in October / November to feed on Durlston's plentiful berries and stay through the winter.

More about Birds

Guillemots on cliff ledge


Durlston's Guillemot colonies are both the most easterly and second largest on the South Coast.  They were up until 2012 some of the most productive, with an average of 0.8 chicks per breeding site.

Tufty our most famous bird has not returned since 2013,must be assumed dead. He bred here for at least 16 years, maybe more. (He was identified by the white "mohican" hence the name!).

The surveys at Durlston are all done via our live cliff-camera link, which runs 400m from the cliff edge to the Visitor Centre where a remote control unit allows operation of the camera. 

More about Guillemots

Durlston is home to 11 species of Orthoptera (Grasshoppers and Bush-crickets).  These can be heard chirping and wheezing in the meadows, downs and hedgerows during the summer months.

There are many species that are rarely recorded, often because they are obscure, difficult to tell apart or very small.  For example many Beetles, Flies and Mosses!

So please send in your sightings.

Around the Castle you may well see the Wall Lizard. This species was introduced to the UK from southern Europe, but they are thriving on the walls here, having been first recorded in 2002.  One of the five reptiles (lizards and snakes) to be found here.

Elephant Hawk-moth


Durlston is a superb place to discover these mysterious and beautiful 'creatures of the night'. The list of species is growing all the time – to date, over 458 species of 'macro-moths' and more than 200 'micro-moths' have been recorded on the Park.

More about Moths

Diversity Artwork - Durlston species list

Diversity : over 2000 species are listed in systematic order, the names in Latin and English are back-lit and engraved onto glass. Visit the seventhwave cafe to see this fantastic artwork.  Starting with Fungi, Lichen, Liverworts, Mosses, Ferns, through Trees and Flowers to Reptiles, Insects, Mammals and finishing with Birds.