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-Xagħra tal-Kortin

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 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] (optional):

No information provided

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      0.09  0.00 
3170  info      0.02  0.00 
5330  info      4.02  0.00 
5410  info      0.41  0.00 
8210  info      0.39  0.00 
9320  info      1.97  0.00 
9540  info      0.12  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.
  • 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)

No information provided


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


4.2 Quality and importance

The coastline at Ix-Xagħra 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 Miġnuna 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 subsp. melitensis. The very rare Atractylis cancellata, a species with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and the Mediterranean, is represented in the area. Ix-Xagħra tal-Kortin harbours a number of endemic species such as Salsola melitensis (= Darniella melitensis, usually abundant in maritime cliffs and escarpments, protected through national legislation) and 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 population of 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-Xagħra 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 Limbarda crithmoides (= Inula crithmoides). A number of plant species protected through national legislation are also present, such as Juncus acutus. The garrigue habitat at Ix-Xagħra tal-Kortin supports a number of species such as the shrubby 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 Thymbra capitata. 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 Rhamnus oleoides, Tamarix africana and Pinus halepensis.Other species that are listed in the National Red Data Book and that are present at Ix-Xagħra 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 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-Xagħra 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.

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

4.4 Ownership (optional)

No information provided

4.5 Documentation (optional)

No information provided


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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: Ix-Xagħra tal-Kortin

No, but in preparation

6.3 Conservation measures (optional)

No information provided



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