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

Ix-Xaghra tal-Kortin

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:Environment and Resources Authority
Address:  Biodiversity Unit    
Date site proposed as SCI:2004-04
Date site confirmed as SCI:2008-03
Date site designated as SAC: No data
National legal reference of SAC designation: No data


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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      0.37  0.00       
5330  info      5.1  0.00 
5410  info      0.824694  0.00 
8210  info      0.56  0.00 
9320  info      3.19  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.
P4102Anacamptis urvilleana       
  • 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
Aelurillus schembrii               
Amaurobius erberi               
Anthyllis hermanniae               
Aphantaulax cinctus               
Atractylis cancellata               
Carlina involucrata               
Catabrosa aquatica               
Ceratonia siliqua               
Chalcides ocellatus tiligugu               
Cheiracanthium pennyi               
Chiliadenus bocconei               
Convolvulus oleifolius               
Darniella melitensis               
Dysdera crocota               
Erica multiflora               
Euphorbia melitensis               
Icius nebulosus               
Juncus acutus                 
Lotus preslii               
Lycosoides flavomaculata               
Marilynia bicolor               
Matthiola incana subsp. melitensis               
Muticaria macrostoma               
Nemesia arboricola               
Periploca angustifolia               
Phagnalon graecum subsp. ginzbergeri               
Phlegra fasciata               
Phycitodes saxicola vallettae               
Pinus halepensis               
Pistacia lentiscus               
Podarcis filfolensis maltensis               
Pterolanche vallettae               
Sedum caeruleum               
Silometopus curtus               
Spelaeoniscus vallettai               
Tamarix africana               
Tamus communis               
Tarentola mauritanica               
Thymus capitatus               
Trochoidea spratti               
Urginea pancration               
  • 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 4% "Other land' includes rural scattered structures.The 'Mixed woodland' refers to afforested areas, which include Acacia spp., Pinus halepensis, Eucalyptus spp. and agricultural fields.

4.2 Quality and importance

The coastline at Ix-Xaghra tal-Kortin is a mosaic of boulders, stones, dry gorges and clefts providing the typical habitat for a boulder scree community. The flora found on the boulder screes are in pristine condition due to the fact that they are relatively inaccessible. Vegetation found on the boulder screes include cliff communities based upon Chiliadenus bocconei and Matthiola incana subsp. melitensis (protected through national legislation), which is essentially endemic to Gozo and absent to other islands. Indeed, the cliff area in this region and adjacent Mignuna area (another Natura 2000 site) represents the only station in the islands of Malta with Mattiola incana subsp. melitensis. This population is slightly different to that found in Gozo and requires further investigation. The screes also harbour one of the best pre-desert scrub communities based upon Periploca angustifolia and Euphorbia melitensis, with other species such as the Black Bryony (Tamus communis), which is listed in the National Red Data Book as rare with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands, it being restricted to a few ravines. Phrygana is also represented, mostly typified by Anthyllis hermanniae. The very rare Atractylis cancellata, a species with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and the Mediterranean, is represented in the area. Ix-Xaghra tal-Kortin harbours a number of endemic species such as the Maltese Salt Tree (Darniella melitensis, usually abundant in maritime cliffs and escarpments, protected through national legislation) and the Maltese Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis urvilleana, protected through national legislation and also listed in the National Red Data Book as being rare with restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands). The commonest of the Maltese endemics Chiliadenus bocconei is present on the boulder screes. The Wolfbane population (Periploca angustifolia, listed in the National Red Data Book due to its restricted distribution in the Mediterranean and also protected through national legislation) which forms the dominant pre-desert scrub species at Ix-Xaghra tal-Kortin is also of importance, as is Erica multiflora which grows in this area as very dense shrubs. The maritime habitat closer to the supralittoral is marked by Inula crithmoides. A number of plant species protected through national legislation are also present, such as Juncus acutus. Garigue at Ix-Xaghra tal-Kortin supports a number of species such as the shrubby Olive-Leaved Bindweed, Convolvulus oleifolius (protected through national legislation and listed in the National Red Data Book as it is of phytogeographical interest and has a resticted distribution in the Mediterranean) and Thymus capitatus (protected by Government Notice 85 of 1932). Phagnalon graecum subsp. ginzbergerii, which has a restricted distribution in the Mediterranean, is also present. The Carob (Ceratonia siliqua; protected through national legislation) dominates the maquis in the area. Other trees that are strictly protected through national legislation include the Olive-Leaved Buckthorn (Rhamnus oleoides), Tamarix africana and the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis).Other species that are listed in the National Red Data Book and that are present at Ix-Xaghra tal-Kortin include Sedum caeruleum, which has a restricted distribution in the Mediterranean and is of phytogeographical interest, as well as Carlina involucrata which also has a restricted distribution in the Mediterranean being a North African entity but also present on Lampedusa (Pelagian Islands, Italy). The pebble beach at Il-Qala tal-Mistra is covered by Posidonia banquettes, which develop during the winter months due to Posidonia beds (classified as code 1120 priority habitat under the Habitats Directive) found in the bay. Il-Wied tal-Mistra grades into a coastal marshland on approaching the sea and ending at the shingle beach at Il-Qala tal-Mistra. The saltmarsh has been completely degraded as a result of urbanisation. To date, only a remnant of the original saline marshland prevails. This small patch is vegetated by Arundo donax, and numerous grasses, but despite the high degree of degradation, salt-tolerant plants such as Inula crithmoides, Crithmum maritimum, Cakile maritima and the rare Juncus acutus still characterise the habitat type. The saline marshland is an important habitat in the local context due to the halophilic community of plant and animal species, it supports. The very rare Lotus preslii (RBD) is also present in the area. These species are either only known from this valley or else have a limited distribution in the Maltese Islands. A number of invertebrates listed in the National Red Data Book are present and include the very rare endemic terrestrial isopod Spalaeoniscus valletai and the endemic moths Pterolanche vallettae and Phycitoides saxicola vallettae. The area at Il-Qala tal-Mistra is the type locality for the latter species. Records have also been made of Podarcis filfolensis, Chalcides ocellatus and Tarentola mauritanica, which are protected through the Bern Convention. The endemic snails Muticaria macrostoma and Trochoidea spratti are common on the rocky areas at Ix-Xaghra tal-Kortin. The isopod Trichoniscus halophilus is known only from this locality. The woodlice Tylos latreillei sardous, Buchnerillo littoralis, Armadilloniscus candidus and Platyarthus schobli intermedius are found at Il-Wied tal-Mistra. Notes on Section: Ecological Information - Habitats The Habitat Type Olea and Ceratonia Forests (Code 9320) co-occurs with Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub (Code 5330) in certain areas, whereas in another area of Ix-Xaghra tal-Kortin it co-occurs with West Mediterranean clifftop phryganas (Code 5410). The value of % cover given for 9320 indicates only the percentage area where this habitat type is dominant and excludes those areas where it co-occurs with either 5330 or 5410.

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:

No, but in preparation



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