Database release:

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

L-Inħawi ta' Għajn Barrani

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:Environment & Resources Authority
Date site proposed as SCI:2004-04
Date site confirmed as SCI:2008-03
Date site designated as SAC:2016-12
National legal reference of SAC designation:Government Notice No. 1379 of 2016, in accordance with the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations, 2016 (S.L. 549.44)


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km]:


2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Mediterranean (100.00 %)


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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

Annex I Habitat types Site assessment
Code PF NP Cover [ha] Cave [number] Data quality A|B|C|D A|B|C
      RepresentativityRelative SurfaceConservationGlobal
1240  info      1.85  0.00 
1510  info      22.09  0.00 
5330  info      1.33  0.00 
8210  info      8.68  0.00 
92D0  info      1.4  0.00 
  • PF: for the habitat types that can have a non-priority as well as a priority form (6210, 7130, 9430) enter "X" in the column PF to indicate the priority form.
  • NP: in case that a habitat type no longer exists in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Cover: decimal values can be entered
  • Caves: for habitat types 8310, 8330 (caves) enter the number of caves if estimated surface is not available.
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation)

3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
P4084Hyoseris frutescens           
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

The Għajn Barrani area, located in N/NE area of Gozo, forms part of the stretch of coastal cliffs on the northern side of Gozo ranging from Marsalforn to the sandy beach of Ramla. The area is characterised by an Upper Coralline Limestone cap or plateau, known as Il-Qortin ta' Għajn Damma and Tal-Gabdoll, essentially located on a layer of blue clay. The plateau itself, which is degraded, is surrounded by an escarpment and fallen Coralline Limestone boulders, creating a peculiar landscape locally known as "rdum"; and exposed blue clay, which forms characteristic species-rich clay slopes, locally known as "żrieżaq tat-tafal". The valley system of Wied il-Pergla opens into the area. Wied il-Pergla is suspected to be a potential source of nourishment for the offshore sediment banks within the region, the latter being in turn possibly also an important source of sand for the Ramla sand dune system (another Natura 2000 site located further east). The area is also characterised by a number of springs in the area of Għajn Barrani and within Wied il-Pergla. This gives rise to watercourses and a relatively humid environment owing to the water-retaining abilities of the abundant exposed blue clay in the area. This provides an important habitat in the Maltese Islands, which, owing to the dearth of water, is in itself overall rare and composed of species with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands. Owing to the supply of water, a number of areas are, or have been used for, agricultural purposes. However, agricultural practices on the slopes of the plateau have long been abandoned, and the slopes are now also characterised by a clay slope community.

4.2 Quality and importance

Owing to the springs, the relatively inaccessible parts, and the water-retaining clay in the area, this Natura 2000 site is in a relatively good condition and supports the best Nerio-Tamaricetea communities of the Maltese Islands. In fact, this community, overall rare in the Maltese Islands, is widespread in the area, and characterised by Vitex agnus-castus and Tamarix africana, both rare and legally protected in the Maltese Islands. The clay slopes are reported to support a wide range of threatened and endemic species, including the last known population of the very rare Trifolium squamosum and a population of the otherwise very rare Italo-Maltese endemic Ononis oligophylla. Other rare Maltese biotopes and endemic species known from the area include the very rare Juncus acutus, and a halophytic community based upon Inula crithmoides, the endemic Darniella melitensis and one of the few native stands of the very rare Atriplex halimus, locally known as var. gussoneana (= Atriplex gussoneanum), a variety of uncertain taxonomic status only known from the Maltese islands of Malta and Gozo, and the Pelagian islands of Lampedusa and Lampione. The escarpments and boulder screes of the area are mostly typified by a community based upon a number of chasmophytes, including the rare endemic Hyoseris frutescens, the rare endemic Matthiola incana subsp. melitensis, and the rare Coronilla valentina s.l.; Maltese plants of the latter species show intermediate features between subspecies glauca and valentina. In the area of Tal-Gabdoll, the naturalised Aeonium arboreum becomes dominant, as does Prunus dulcis (= Amygdalus communis), in the area of Il-Milħa, where it is found in some of the shaded boulders with sufficient soil. Other important communities in the area include phrygana communities based on Anthyllis hermanniae; tree spurge formations with Euphorbia dendroides; the endemic pre-desert scrub communities based upon Euphorbia melitensis; and labiate garrigues with Thymus capitatus and Teucrium fruticans. Beneath the escarpment in the area of Għajn Barrani is a secondary maquis copse, based on tall and old Olea europaea, with an array of other economically important species that have become naturalised in the area. The community is based upon Olea europaea, Malus domestica, Prunus cerasifera, Prunus dulcis, Punica granatum and Crataegus cf. azarolus. The copse is impenetrable due to a number of spiny climbers, including Asparagus aphyllus and Smilax aspera. Other trees are reported from the area, including Ceratonia siliqua, Cydonia oblonga, Mespilus germanica, Prunus spinosa and Pyrus sp., all of which indicate that the area was a former orchard, eventually abandoned. The agricultural fields of the area provide old records for various wild agro-species, including Glebionis segetum (= Chrysanthemum segetum), Eruca sativa, Hibiscus trionum, Neslia apiculata and Thlaspi perfoliatum, which are now threatened nation-wide, if not possibly extinct. Għajn Barrani also provides a recent record of the terrestrial clausilid snail, Sicilaria septemplicata, which to date is only known from a Quaternary fossil from the area of Baħrija (island of Malta). If a living population of this species is confirmed, this would be of biogeographical interest, noting that the species is presently confined to (thence endemic to) Sicily.

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

Organisation:Environment and Resources Authority

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

Yes Name: L-Inħawi ta’ Għajn Barrani

No, but in preparation



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