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 tal-Għadira

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:Environment and Resources Authority

1.7 Site indication and designation / classification dates

Date site classified as SPA:2004-04
National legal reference of SPA designationGovernment Notice No. 112 of 2007, in accordance with the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations, 2016 (S.L. 549.44)
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
1150  info      3.78  0.00 
1410  info      0.62  0.00 
1420  info      1.99  0.00 
2220  info      1.13  0.00 
5330  info      5.69  0.00 
5410  info      5.45  0.00 
6220  info      0.77  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.
BA298Acrocephalus arundinaceus       
BA293Acrocephalus melanopogon       
BA293Acrocephalus melanopogon       
BA295Acrocephalus schoenobaenus       
BA297Acrocephalus scirpaceus       
BA168Actitis hypoleucos       
BA247Alauda arvensis       
BA247Alauda arvensis       
BA229Alcedo atthis       
BA229Alcedo atthis       
BA054Anas acuta       
BA056Anas clypeata       
BA052Anas crecca       
BA053Anas platyrhynchos       
BA053Anas platyrhynchos       
BA055Anas querquedula       
BA255Anthus campestris       
BA258Anthus cervinus       
BA257Anthus pratensis       
BA257Anthus pratensis       
BA259Anthus spinoletta       
BA256Anthus trivialis       
F1152Aphanius fasciatus       
BA226Apus apus       
BA228Apus melba       
BA227Apus pallidus       
BA029Ardea purpurea       
BA024Ardeola ralloides       
BA059Aythya ferina       
BA060Aythya nyroca       
I4047Brachytrupes megacephalus    28  28   
BA087Buteo buteo       
BA243Calandrella brachydactyla       
BA243Calandrella brachydactyla       
BA144Calidris alba       
BA149Calidris alpina       
BA143Calidris canutus       
BA147Calidris ferruginea       
BA145Calidris minuta       
BA146Calidris temminckii       
BA224Caprimulgus europaeus       
BA366Carduelis cannabina       
BA366Carduelis cannabina       
BA364Carduelis carduelis       
BA363Carduelis chloris       
BA365Carduelis spinus       
BA365Carduelis spinus       
BA288Cettia cetti       
BA138Charadrius alexandrinus       
BA136Charadrius dubius       
BA137Charadrius hiaticula       
BA198Chlidonias leucopterus       
BA081Circus aeruginosus       
BA084Circus pygargus       
BA289Cisticola juncidis       
BA113Coturnix coturnix       
BA212Cuculus canorus       
BA253Delichon urbica       
BA027Egretta alba       
BA026Egretta garzetta       
R1293Elaphe situla       
BA381Emberiza schoeniclus       
BA381Emberiza schoeniclus       
BA269Erithacus rubecula       
BA269Erithacus rubecula       
BA095Falco naumanni       
BA099Falco subbuteo       
BA096Falco tinnunculus       
BA097Falco vespertinus       
BA321Ficedula albicollis       
BA322Ficedula hypoleuca       
BA320Ficedula parva       
BA359Fringilla coelebs       
BA359Fringilla coelebs       
BA125Fulica atra       
BA125Fulica atra       
BA153Gallinago gallinago       
BA154Gallinago media       
BA123Gallinula chloropus       
BA131Himantopus himantopus       
BA299Hippolais icterina       
BA252Hirundo daurica       
BA251Hirundo rustica       
BA022Ixobrychus minutus       
BA233Jynx torquilla       
BA233Jynx torquilla       
BA338Lanius collurio       
BA341Lanius senator       
BA459Larus cachinnans       
BA183Larus fuscus       
BA180Larus genei       
BA176Larus melanocephalus       
BA179Larus ridibundus       
BA150Limicola falcinellus       
BA271Luscinia megarhynchos       
BA272Luscinia svecica       
BA272Luscinia svecica       
BA152Lymnocryptes minimus       
BA230Merops apiaster       
BA383Miliaria calandra       
BA073Milvus migrans       
BA262Motacilla alba       
BA262Motacilla alba       
BA261Motacilla cinerea       
BA261Motacilla cinerea       
BA260Motacilla flava       
BA319Muscicapa striata       
M1307Myotis blythii                 
BA023Nycticorax nycticorax       
BA435Oenanthe isabellina       
BA277Oenanthe oenanthe       
BA337Oriolus oriolus       
P4106Orobanche densiflora       
BA094Pandion haliaetus       
BA356Passer montanus       
BA072Pernis apivorus       
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo       
BA151Philomachus pugnax       
BA035Phoenicopterus ruber       
BA273Phoenicurus ochruros       
BA273Phoenicurus ochruros       
BA274Phoenicurus phoenicurus       
BA313Phylloscopus bonelli       
BA315Phylloscopus collybita       
BA315Phylloscopus collybita       
BA314Phylloscopus sibilatrix       
BA312Phylloscopus trochiloides       
BA316Phylloscopus trochilus       
BA032Plegadis falcinellus       
BA140Pluvialis apricaria       
BA005Podiceps cristatus       
BA119Porzana porzana       
BA266Prunella modularis       
BA266Prunella modularis       
BA118Rallus aquaticus       
BA318Regulus ignicapillus       
BA318Regulus ignicapillus       
BA317Regulus regulus       
BA317Regulus regulus       
M1303Rhinolophus hipposideros       
BA249Riparia riparia       
BA275Saxicola rubetra       
BA276Saxicola torquata       
BA276Saxicola torquata       
BA155Scolopax rusticola       
BA361Serinus serinus       
BA361Serinus serinus       
BA190Sterna caspia       
BA209Streptopelia decaocto       
BA210Streptopelia turtur       
BA351Sturnus vulgaris       
BA311Sylvia atricapilla       
BA311Sylvia atricapilla       
BA310Sylvia borin       
BA304Sylvia cantillans       
BA309Sylvia communis       
BA303Sylvia conspicillata       
BA305Sylvia melanocephala       
BA004Tachybaptus ruficollis       
BA004Tachybaptus ruficollis       
BA161Tringa erythropus       
BA166Tringa glareola       
BA164Tringa nebularia       
BA165Tringa ochropus       
BA163Tringa stagnatilis       
BA162Tringa totanus       
BA265Troglodytes troglodytes       
BA283Turdus merula       
BA283Turdus merula       
BA285Turdus philomelos       
BA285Turdus philomelos       
BA232Upupa epops       
BA142Vanellus vanellus       
  • 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 site is very interesting in view of the wide variety of habitats to be found, including a small saltmarsh, a brackish wetland, sand dunes, garrigue/phrygana, steppe and agricultural land. The first three habitats are overall rare in the Maltese Islands. Areas of garrigue/phrygana present within the site are dominated either by Anthyllis hermanniae subsp. melitensis or Euphorbia melitensis. These garrigue areas include some very rare species, like the locally very rare orchid Barlia robertiana. On the other hand, Brachypodium retusum forms the primary component of the steppic areas. Over twenty years ago, the wetland presently found at L-Għadira was a saline marshland that used to dry out every summer. Habitat engineering works have transformed the area into a brackish wetland with a pool that becomes increasingly saline in summer but does not dry out. A number of bird species that are typical of wetlands also breed on a regular basis. L-Għadira is one of the few places in the Maltese Islands where such migrating birds can stop to rest and feed.

4.2 Quality and importance

The wetland present on site, which has been artifically created by habitat engineering works, is considered important as it provides an adequate habitat for the killifish, Aphanius fasciatus (Annex II, Habitats Directive) which is locally restricted to a few places and is threatened. The present population of Aphanius fasciatus, while very large, originates from two wild populations (from Marsa and Is-Salini - the latter is a Natura 2000 site) and is now a mixed one. In addition, the wetland area provides an adequate habitat for a number of migratory bird species: especially waders, rails, bitterns, moorhens and reed-associated warblers. Charadrius dubius, a migratory bird, has recently started to breed on shingle beaches created purposely within the wetland. Pools with fluctuating salinity and the saline marshland that surrounds such pools are rare habitats overall in the Maltese Islands. In fact, the pool and marshland at L-Għadira are now one of the few places where such habitat is found. They are consequently important for species that associate with such habitats, many of which species are overall rare in the Maltese Islands, even if abundant at L-Għadira. The garrigue area provides suitable breeding ground for Calandrella brachydactyla (Annex I, Birds Directive). The site is one of the few known localities for the endemic form of Orobanche densiflora (Annex II, Habitats Directive). In addition to Orobanche densiflora, the sand dune area supports other rare sand dune species including plants and invertebrates. Additional plant species that have been recorded only from a few sites other than from L-Għadira include Juncus acutus, Melilotus messanensis, Euphorbia chamaesyce, Elytrigia juncea, Ruppia drepanensis, Euphorbia terracina and Juncus subulatus. The garrigue habitat throughout the site provides an important habitat for the reptiles Podarics filfolensis maltensis, Tarentola mauritanica, Hemidactylus turcicus turcicus, Chalcides ocellatus, Chamaeleo chamaeleon, Telescopus fallax fallax, Coluber viridiflavus carbonarius and Elaphe situla (Annex II, Habitats Dircetive). The garrigue/phrygana at Il-Bisqra area, dominated by Anthyllis hermanniae, supports various orchid species, including Ophrys spp., Orchis spp., Serapias spp. and Anacamptis spp. Although the area at the back of the beach at Mellieħa Bay once supported an important dune system, this is now degraded due to a road that passes through it. Yet, what remains of this dune system is still important for a number of sand-associated species that are overall rare in the Maltese Islands. The characteristic species are Elytrigia juncea and Euphorbia terracina. The remnant dune areas are important for several species of invertebrates that are restricted to sand dune habitats. Among these are Leptochilus medamae, Pseudopipona tripunctata, Dasylabris maura, Smicromyrme n.sp., Tachygetes n.sp., Prionyx viduatus, Exohus australis and Mesostenus hellenicus. Other invertebrate species with restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands include Cochlicella conoidea, Scarabeus semipunctatus, Hydrobia ventrosa and many others. A small population of the sand cricket, Brachytrupes megacephalus (Annex II, Habitats Directive) exists at L-Għadira. The endemic tenebrionid beetle Pseudoseriscius cameroni (Annex II, Habitats Directive), used to inhabit the dunes of this area, but it is now probably extinct due to severe degradation of the dune area following the aforementioned road construction and planting of alien and other inappropriate species (This species still survives at Ir-Ramla - Natura 2000 site - on the island of Gozo). The interpretive center found at L-Għadira receives over 8,000 visitors annually including tourists and school children. It serves as a very important educational resource and a means for promoting eco-tourism.

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 tal-Għadira

No, but in preparation



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