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-Imġiebaħ u tal-Miġnuna

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]:


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      6.36  0.00 
1510  info      5.57  0.00 
5330  info      51.89  0.00 
8210  info      6.42  0.00 
92D0  info      0.19  0.00 
9320  info      4.32  0.00 
9340  info      0.62  0.00 
9540  info      0.98  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.
R1293Elaphe situla       
P4114Linaria pseudolaxiflora       
  • 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

This is one of the largest single sites in the Maltese Islands nominated as a Special Area of Conservation. It is essentially characterised by coralline limestone outcrops surrounded by steppes based upon blue clay, which form clay slopes. The slopes are characterised by a mosaic of two main habitats, calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation and vegetated sea cliffs with endemic Limonium melitense, where the chasmophytic vegetation is dominant. The plateaux on the other hand are dominated by another mosaic of two habitat types, pre-desert scrub and Mediterranean salt steppe, where the pre-desert scrub is dominant. A permanent spring is found at Għajn Ħadid. This gives rise to a relatively humid environment owing to the water-retaining abilities of the abundant exposed blue clay in the area. In view of this, a good proportion of the area is also agricultural. Beneath the clay slopes, in the small bay at L-Imġiebaħ is a small sandy beach, Ir-Ramla ta' tal-Imġiebaħ.

4.2 Quality and importance

The area houses a variety of habitat types, including clay slope steppes, labiate garrigues based on Thymbra capitata, an old forest remnant based upon Quercus ilex, cliffs and boulder screes with various endemic species, native Tamarix africana stands and temporary Mediterranean ponds. The cliff and boulder scree communities are mostly typified by a community based upon the endemic Salsola melitensis (= Darniella melitensis); the rare endemic Matthiola incana subsp. melitensis; the endemic Limonium melitense; the Pelago-Maltese endemic Daucus rupestris; and Crucianella rupestris. These communities, continuous with the neighbouring cliffs and boulders at Ix-Xagħra tal-Kortin, represent the only Maltese (s.str.) station for the endemic Matthiola, which is otherwise found exclusively on the island of Gozo. The Maltese populations are visibly different from the Gozitan populations, in being consistently less stocky and succulent, and may require further studies. The Pelago-Maltese endemic Linaria pseudolaxiflora (Annex II, Habitats Directive; Appendix I Bern Convention), and the very rare, legally protected, Lycium intricatum, were also recorded from this area. The garrigue and pre-desert scrub of the whole area is a mosaic based on various species, including the endemic Chiliadenus bocconei, the rare Cistus creticus, Convolvulus oleifolius, Erica multiflora, Euphorbia melitensis, Periploca angustifolia, the very rare Putoria calabrica and Thymbra capitata.These coastal garrigue and boulder scree communities of the area also house a number of interesting species, including: The Siculo-Maltese endemic beetle, Danacea nigripalpis; The rare ant, Triglyphothrix lanuginosum; The common Siculo-Maltese endemic, Cernuella caruanae; The localised homopteran Tetralicia ericae, locally monophagous on Erica multiflora; The endemic Marmorana melitensis, a thermophilic and xeroresistant species known from crevices and rubble walls; The endemic Trochoidea spratti, a karstic species in crevices and depressions in the rocks with various distinctive forms of great scientific interest; The vulnerable Ochthebius celatus, known from freshwater pools and slow-flowing waters in the Tal-Mignuna area and the Siculo-Maltese endemic, protected, still unnamed Vitrea sp., a species found under stones and in leaf litter under garrigue and maquis habitats, and widespread in this area (and the neighbouring area of Selmun). The area between Tal-Miġnuna, Il-Ħarrieqa and Rdum il-Bies, which forms an ecological island composed of coralline limestone separated from the rest of the mainland by clay slopes, represents the only known locality in the Maltese Islands for the very rare endemic Muticaria macrostoma scalaris, a karstic taxon limited to a small area of some 1 km squared. Mediterranean temporary ponds or rock pools also form during the wetter winter months on the limestone-based karstic plateau of the L-Imġiebaħ and Tal-Miġnuna areas. Excluding the 'garrigue', cliffs and agriculture, another important habitat in the area, is characterised by coastal steppes on argillaceous soils, mostly based on Lygeum spartum, Cynara cardunculus and Hedysarum coronarium. These clay slopes support a variety of threatened species, including the rare Centaurea melitensis; the very rare Linum bienne; the very rare Medicago rigidula; the rare Phalaris truncata and the very rare Trifolium lappaceum, for which this site represents the last known locality. These steppes also support some of the finest native stands of Tamarix africana, which species is overall rare in the Maltese Islands. Of particular importance are the clay slopes of Għajn Ħadid, which also harbour an interesting invertebrate fauna, with species as the following: The rare silverfish Coletina maggii and Proatelura pseudolepisma; The vulnerable Hohenwartia hohenwarti, a subterranean species living in soil and under stones in argillaceous areas/clay slopes; The Siculo-Maltese endemic Lehmannia melitensis, a species of indeterminate status, but apparently rare, known from damp microhabitats; The rare carabid beetle, Parophanus hispanicus, seemingly particular to the Għajn Hadid area; and the dipteran Gymnochiromyia fallax, known from humid/freshwater habitats. This species has a restricted distribution in the Mediterranean, known only from Malta, Gozo, Tunisia and the Balearic Islands. Another important habitat type is the forest remnant based on Holm Oak, Quercus ilex, at Il-Ballut in the limits of L-Imgiebaħ (where 'balluta' is the Maltese vernacular for Holm Oak). This wood is one of the four extant remnants based on this species. The area is composed of closed canopy forest, with limited undergrowth due to the shading abilities of the oaks' crown, but rich in undergrowth species, particularly in fungi, myxomycetes and invertebrates. In fact, the species associated with this remnant are often either confined to this copse, or else extremely limited in distribution. A variety invertebrates are found at Il-Ballut. A few examples include: The rare snail Lauria cylindrica, associated with leaf litter in the forest remnant; The endemic slug of indeterminate status Deroceras golcheri found under wood, stones and other debris in the wooded area; The rare ant Leptothorax rabaudi, a leaf-litter species with a very limited distribution; The vulnerable Italo-Maltese endemic carabid beetle Reicheia italica, associated with leaf-litter and/or endogean in the area; and various woodlice, including the very rare endemic Bathytropa schembrii, a troglobitic species adapted to live in crevices in mud; the saproxylic Porcellio obsoletus, found living under the bark of Quercus ilex; and the humicolous Ctenoscia dorsalis, found in Holm Oak leaf litter. Maquis assemblages based upon Ceratonia siliqua and Olea europaea also occupy part of the area at L-Imġiebaħ. The Siculo-Maltese endemic millepede Glomeris distichella, found in the oak forest remnant and nearby maquis, is also reported from this area.

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-Imġiebaħ u tal-Miġnuna

No, but in preparation



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