What is a Field Cricket?
These remarkable creatures are among the rarest and most threatened invertebrates in the UK. They are 2cm long and chunky, black or brown with striking yellow wing-bases. They can’t fly, but can walk up to 100m a day. Their wing markings resemble intricate wrought-iron work, and the males make a loud call to attract a mate using “harps”, modified veins on their wings.
Why are they in trouble?
The grassy heathland in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, where the crickets live and on which they depend, has been greatly depleted by forestry and other land use changes. In the 1980s, there was just one group of fewer than 100 individuals left in West Sussex. Despite successful heathland restoration and reintroduction projects, the current six populations are still very isolated and vulnerable.
How we will help the Field Cricket
This Back from the Brink project is led by the RSPB. It will make the Field Cricket populations more robust by extending and joining patches of habitat, and starting new populations by releasing crickets on restored heathland. We’ll monitor the populations to see how they are getting on.
We’ll also organise events and training sessions at RSPB Farnham Heath Nature Reserve in Surrey, and RSPB Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve in West Sussex. The public and volunteers can learn all about Field Crickets, how they can help survey and monitor them, and keep their habitat in tiptop condition.
What we’re aiming for
By the end of the project, we hope there will be more Field Cricket populations in England, and that there will be more habitat for them too. Existing habitat will be in good condition, with small patches joined to create larger areas so they can reach new areas.
How to get involved
Can you help us with Field Cricket surveys, or maintaining places for Field Crickets to live? Find out more at our talks, walks and events.
You can get the latest news, and find out about upcoming events, by following the links below.
Translocation at Farnham Heath
Monitoring of calling males
Walks and talks at Farnham Heath
14 July 2017
Training event for volunteers and staff
Habitat restoration at Pulborough Brooks
Practical habitat management training for volunteers
Translocations at Farnham Heath and Pulborough Brooks
Public events at Farnham Heath