email a friend
printable version
Location Malta, Gozo,Malta
Central coordinates 14o 16.80' East  36o 2.40' North
IBA criteria A1, A4ii, B1i, B1ii, B2, B3, C1, C2, C6
Area 55,644 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2013

BirdLife Malta

Site description This area encompasses the waters within the Malta-Gozo Channel, as well as the waters immediately offshore from Ta’ Cenc in Gozo to the west and up to 7 km offshore of Rdumtal-Madonna to the east. Western limit - 35°58'38.40"N, 14°13'56.79"E, (ii) Eastern Limit - 36° 0'45.37"N, 14°27'4.07"E.

Key Biodiversity The ornithological importance of this area is three-fold. The area is an important rafting site for both Puffinus yelkouan and Calonectris diomedea, with concentrations of the former off of Rdumtal-Madonna to the east and the latter off Ta’ Cenc to the west. Secondly, both species also use the channel itself, often in large numbers, particularly in the late afternoon before returning to their breeding colonies. The channel is also important for migratory ducks, forming a bottleneck through which they pass in the thousands during the spring and (to a lesser extent) autumn migrations. During this period they also gather in rafts within the confines of the channel, often remaining for many hours before continuing on their migrations. The ducks include internationally important numbers of the Globally Near-Threatened Aythya nyroca, along with sizeable numbers of Anas querquedula and Anasacuta, both Species of Conservation Concern in Europe.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca passage  2001-2010  65-997 individuals  good  A1, B1i, C1, C2  Near Threatened 
Calonectris diomedea breeding  2008-2009  1,325 breeding pairs  good  B1ii, B2, C2, C6  Not Recognised 
Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan breeding  2007-2009  598-982 breeding pairs  good  A1, A4ii, B1ii, B3, C1, C2, C6  Vulnerable 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ghadira Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 11 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Is-Simar Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 5 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Zona fil-bahar fl-inhawi tad-Dwejra, Ghawdex Special Area of Conservation - National Importance 253 protected area contained by site 253  


Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Għawdex marine. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife