Species Champions: Brown hare

The Brown hare is most often seen bounding across fields in a zig-zag pattern, or ‘boxing’ in the spring mating season. Brown hares graze on vegetation and nibble bark from young trees and bushes. Hares shelter in a ‘form’, which is simply a shallow depression in the ground or grasses. They are commonest in grassland and at woodland edges, and are found throughout mainland Britain with the exception of northern Scotland.

Action Needed

1. Support increased flexibility within rural development programmes to maintain open pasture through careful management of sheep grazing.

2. Support the development of a National Ecological Network.

3. Ensure the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy is fully implemented.


Once common, the Brown hare has declined dramatically due to changing agricultural practices affecting its favoured grassland habitats. Shooting and coursing have also had an impact.

MSP Species Champion

Alison Johnstone

Member for: Lothian

Party: Scottish Green Party

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