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Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina)

On this page, we have made available all the information we have for this species

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Picture of Duke of Burgundy
© Nick Greatorex-Davies

The Duke of Burgundy is a rare butterfly occurring in small discrete colonies in scrubby calcareous grassland and recent woodland clearings where its larval foodplants, either Primrose (Primula vulgaris) or Cowslip (P. veris), grow in reasonable abundance in sheltered but open, sunny conditions. The butterfly has undergone a major decline in Britain especially in woodlands. (For further details on this species see

Family : Riodinidae

Status : Rapid decline

Status details :
Status since 1979 is Rapid decline with a decrease of -39.7%
Status over the last 20 years is Stable with a decrease of -7.2%
Status over the last 10 years is Stable with a increase of 11%

Log collated index plot

Species Log Collated Index Plot

This chart shows the index of abundance (LCI = Log Collated Index) over time. It shows fluctuations in populations from year to year, and is scaled so that the average index over the whole series is equal to 2 (horizontal line). For greater detail about how this index is derived, click on the green question mark above.

Trend description :
This UK BAP priority species has significantly declined on UKBMS sites and is of high conservation concern. The number of colonies has diminished greatly with a number of sites losing the species since 1976 and many other sites being reduced to extremely small colonies of only a few individuals. There are positive signs that current conservation management for this species is benefiting it, and good years like 2010 and 2011 have seen the recent decline stabilise somewhat. Noar Hill in Hampshire, remains a good site for Duke of Burgundy, where it has regularly produced a three figure annual index. However, it is declining at this site as well. It is faring better in some of it's northern sites in Lancashire and North Yorkshire where there have been significant increases since monitoring began reflecting the conservation management in place.

This map shows the distribution between 1995 and 2016. Data is derived from the Butterflies for the New Millenium dataset via the NBN Gateway

Phenology plot
Species Phenology Plot

Phenology plot

This chart shows the average number of butterflies seen on transects between Arpil and October across all sites (fitted values from a Generalised Additive Model). The blue line gives average counts over the full BMS series (1976 to date) and the red line gives the average for the last year.

Species abundance map


This map shows symbols for the mean abundance at transect sites, with the colour of the symbol reflecting the level of abundance. Means are over all years. Grey background squares are the occupied cells as shown by the Butterflies for the New Millenium over the previous ten year period.


In total, Duke of Burgundy has been recorded from 179 transects in the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. Of these, annual indices of abundance have been calculated from 144 sites, with an average index of 5 individuals per site.

For 90 of these sites, Duke of Burgundy has been recorded well enough to calculate annual indices of abundance in more years, allowing trends to be calculated.

In 2019, 269 individuals were recorded from 19 sites, producing annual indices at 20 of these.

The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme is organized and funded by Butterfly Conservation (BC), the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). The UKBMS is indebted to all volunteers who contribute data to the scheme.