MAL020 - Ghajn Rihana


Għajn Rihana is a large valley with numerous dams that passes between L-Imselliet, Mosta and Burmarrad. It is broad and relatively flat-floored. There are two main tributaries - Wied ta' Sejkla and Wied ta' l-Arkata. Wied ta' l-Imselliet and Wied tal-Ħżejjen form the upper parts of the valley system. The valley then continues as Wied ta' Għajn Mula. The downstream part of this valley, joining Wied il-Għasel at Għajn Rihana, is located on the opposite side of Burmarrad Road and is locally referred to as Wied ta' Għajn Rihana. Għajn Rihana and its tributaries are important examples of wetlands and, particularly in the past supported extensive watercourse communities. However, they have become highly degraded in places, largely as a result of practices of surrounding farmland, despite being protected as an Area of Ecological Importance and Site of Scientific Interest. The field survey recorded the presence of watercourse communities (dominated by Juncus subulatus, Rumex conglomeratus, as well as the Arundo donax), interspersed and dominated in places by ruderal vegetation. Agricultural land is one of the main uses within the area and associated vegetation and including trees planted at the boundaries has thus influenced the habitats. Species recorded included the parasites Phelipanche mutelii and Orobanche crenata as well as the host Vicia faba and numerous other ruderals including Avena barbata, Lobularia maritima, Borago officinalis, and Papaver rhoeas. Trees associated with adjacent farmland included Ficus carica, Olea europaea, and Citrus sp were recorded. The invasive alien Ricinis communis was also present. The local painted frog Discoglossus pictus pictus was also recorded to be present at this site. The area is also important for birds.

Wetland data

Basic information
Wetland location: Inland
Wetland type: Natural
Wetland area: 7.30 Ha
Hydrological interaction: Yes 
Water salinity: Fresh (< 0.5 g/l)
Type of fresh water input: Catchment area (precipitation)
Surface water runoff Outflow controlled by dam
Open water area (%): 76 - 95
Hydroperiod: Permanent
Geographic information
Census district: Northern
Island: Malta
Local council: San Pawl Il-Bahar
Longitude: 14.408880 East
Latitude: 35.922160 North
Wetland condition
Wetland status (MEDWET): 3 - Original habitats/landform partially modified (10-50% untouched)
Ramsar wetland type
Type Coverage (%)
M -- Permanent rivers/streams/creeks; includes waterfalls
Property status
Protection statuses
Protection status category Protection status subcategory Area's name Code Coverage area (%) Legislation
National Area of Ecological Importance/Site of Scientific Importance Wied l-Imselliet, tal-Hzejjen, ta' Ghajn Mula, ta' l-Arkata, ta' Ghajn Rihana, Gebel Sarnu, Tat-Targa u Ta' Benniena 555552415 100 Development Planning Act (Act VII of 2016)
CDDA protection status
CDDA code CDDA category
MT02 Area of Ecological Importance/Site of Scientific Importance
Ecosystem services
Type of ecosystem service Ecosystem service Scale of Βenefit (%) Importance
Regulatory services Flood hazard regulation
Provisioning services Food
Provisioning services Fresh water
Supporting services Provision of habitat
Cultural services Recreation and tourism
Regulatory services Storm hazard regulation
Regulatory services Water purification
Regulatory services Water regulation
Activities on wetland
Activity Intensity
020 = Resource conservation High
130 = Irrigation High
230 = Hunting High
701 = water pollution High
720 = Trampling overuse High
910 = Silting up Low
951 = drying out/accumulation of organic material Medium
952 = eutrophication Low
954 = invasion by a species High
Activities on catchment area
Activity Intensity
100 = Cultivation High
102 = mowing / cutting High
110 = Use of pesticides High
120 = Fertilisation High
130 = Irrigation High
180 = Burning Low
230 = Hunting High
419 = other industrial / commercial areas Low
430 = Agricultural structures High
440 = Storage of materials Low
501 = paths tracks cycling tracks Medium
502 = roads motorways Low
701 = water pollution High
790 = Other pollution/human impacts/activities High
972 = parasitism High
Impact Intensity
EB- = Increase in aesthetic qualities High
ED- = Increase in sediment removal/retention High
EE- = Increase of economic potential High
EF- = Increase in protection from natural forces High
ER- = Increase in flow regulation High
ES- = Increase in water supply Low
EW- = Increase in wilderness/wildlife values Medium
PF- = Fertilizer/Excess nutrient pollution Low
PP- = Pesticide pollution High
WD- = Diversion of flowing water
Vegetation types
Type Coverage (%)
Shrubby / Arborescent 5 - 25
Emergent 51 - 75
Other 51 - 75
Floating-leaved 26 - 50
Wet meadow
Species Presence status References
Acacia sp.
Alisma plantago-aquatica
Arundo donax
Daucus carota subs. carota
Erica multiflora
Eucalyptus camaldulensis
Foeniculum vulgare
Galactites tomentosa
Lemna minor
Orobanche lavandulacea
Osteospermum jucundum
Ranunculus saniculifolius
Ranunculus trichophyllus
Tamarix africana


Number of individuals


Circus aeruginosus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Pernis apivorus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Apus apus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Actitis hypoleucos (Linnaeus, 1758)
Gallinago gallinago (Linnaeus, 1758)
Gallinago gallinago (Linnaeus, 1758)
Larus michahellis (Pallas, 1811)
Tringa ochropus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Ardea cinerea (Linnaeus, 1758)
Ardea purpurea (Linnaeus, 1766)
Nycticorax nycticorax (Linnaeus, 1758)
Streptopelia turtur (Linnaeus, 1758)
Merops apiaster (Linnaeus, 1758)
Upupa epops (Linnaeus, 1758)
Falco naumanni (Fleischer, 1818)
Falco subbuteo (Linnaeus, 1758)
Falco tinnunculus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Porzana porzana (Linnaeus, 1766)
Rallus aquaticus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Acrocephalus arundinaceus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Acrocephalus schoenobaenus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Alauda arvensis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Anthus pratensis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Carduelis cannabina (Linnaeus, 1758)
Cettia cetti (Temminck, 1820)
Cisticola juncidis (Rafinesque, 1810)
Delichon urbicum (Linnaeus, 1758)
Erithacus rubecula (Linnaeus, 1758)
Ficedula albicollis (Temminck, 1815)
Ficedula hypoleuca (Pallas, 1764)
Fringilla coelebs (Linnaeus, 1758)
Hirundo rustica (Linnaeus, 1758)
Motacilla alba (Linnaeus, 1758)
Motacilla cinerea (Tunstall, 1771)
Muscicapa striata (Pallas, 1764)
Oenanthe oenanthe (Linnaeus, 1758)
Passer hispaniolensis (Temminck, 1820)
Passer montanus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Phoenicurus ochruros ( S.G. Gmelin, 1774)
Phylloscopus collybita (Vieillot, 1817)
Phylloscopus sibilatrix (Bechstein, 1793)
Phylloscopus trochilus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Prunella modularis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Riparia riparia (Linnaeus, 1758 )
Saxicola rubetra (Linnaeus, 1758)
Sturnus vulgaris (Linnaeus, 1758)
Sylvia atricapilla (Linnaeus, 1758)
Sylvia borin (Boddaert, 1783)
Sylvia cantillans (Pallas, 1764)
Sylvia melanocephala (J.F. Gmelin, 1789)
Turdus philomelos (C.LinnaeusBrehm, 1831)
Jynx torquilla (Linnaeus, 1758)


Presence status in wetland

Discoglossus pictus (Otth, 1837)