Water vole, Arvicola amphibius, Peak District, UK

Giving a home to 16,000 species

There are over 16,000 species on RSPB nature reserves, all thanks to the support of people like you.

A home for all wildlife

When it comes to homes for nature, RSPB nature reserves have it all: from craggy coastlines to sweeping heath, from ancient woodland to lush marsh. These places are home to a jaw-dropping range of species, many of them rare and threatened. 

Across 214 sites covering roughly the area of Greater London (154,483 hectares to be precise), you can find almost every type of creature, from slime moulds and snakes to seahorses and seals.

European otter Lutra lutra, swimming alongside river bank, Norfolk, England

Not just for the birds

While you might think of our reserves as safe havens for birds (we’ve recorded 421 bird species on our sites), these places are vital to a vast range of different species:

  • 95% of UK land mammals have been recorded on RSPB reserves
  • We have 75% of the UK’s wildflowers
  • 97% of the UK’s dragonflies and damselflies
Great yellow bumblebee
Great yellow bumblebee

A vital refuge

A whopping 800 species on RSPB nature reserves are classified as ‘rare’.

Some of our sites hold a large enough number of these species that they are considered important on a national, and sometimes global, scale.

For example, London’s Rainham Marshes has one of the densest populations of water voles in the UK. Three-quarters of the UK’s black-tailed godwits breed on sites we look after. And just one of our reserves – Coquet Island in Northumberland – is home to 90% of the UK’s roseate terns.

Without RSPB reserves, these species would be in big trouble.

Black tailed godwit wading, summer plumage, Snettisham RSPB reserve, Norfolk.
Black-tailed godwit
Four-spotted chaser

Fascinating discoveries

We’re always on the lookout for new species on our sites, and discoveries are happening all the time.

A few years ago, we discovered an uncommon horsetail sloth weevil at RSPB Loch Lomond. At RSPB South Stack, our rarest plant grows: the South Stack fleawort, which is only found here and at a couple of other sites in Anglesey. And even rarer is the Dungeness leafhopper – a tiny insect that lives on the shingle at Dungeness in Kent, and nowhere else on Earth.

Our 16,000 species number will continue to rise as our researchers, volunteers and visitors continue to explore our reserves. There are around 45,000 species in the UK, and we could have as many as 30,000 of those.

 Minsmere RSPB reserve at dawn

It's no coincidence

Of course, it's no coincidence that all of these species live on RSPB nature reserves.

We work hard to create the ideal conditions for them all to thrive.

A dedicated team of staff, volunteers, partners and landowners are out every day, getting their hands dirty, digging ditches, cutting reeds, nurturing saplings and the hundreds of other tasks that form part of giving nature a home.

All of our efforts are guided by some of the best brains in wildlife conservation.

When it comes to creating lagoons of the ideal depth for spoonbills to feed in, or providing the perfect variety of wildflowers to encourage short-haired bumblebees, RSPB scientists are among the very best in the world.

Warden Kate Hanley working at RSPB Dovestone reserve, Peak District
Warden hard at work

People like you make it possible

But it's people like you who make all of it possible. Our members fuel everything we do. The home of every one of those 16,000 species was created thanks to each of our members. And we’re so grateful.

So, if you fancy giving nature a home in a really big way, please do consider becoming an RSPB member today.

Family walking on the beach during mud dipping event, Ribble Estuary
Family exploring