INSTRUCTIONS TO AUTHORS
of submissions to MALIMBUS

Malimbus publishes research articles, reviews and news about West African ornithology.

Papers and Short Notes must be original contributions; material published elsewhere, in whole or in part, will not normally be accepted. Short Notes are articles not exceeding 1500 words (including references) or four printed pages in length. Wherever possible, manuscripts should first have been critically scrutinised by at least one other ornithologist or biologist before submission. Manuscripts will be sent for critical review to at least one specialist reviewer.

Items for News & Comment should not exceed 1000 words.

Contributions are accepted in English or French; editorial assistance will be made available to authors whose first language is not one of these. Submission by email (attached file) is preferred. Consult the editor for further details, e.g. acceptable software.

All Papers (but not Short Notes) should include a Summary, not exceeding 5 % of the paper’s length. The Summary should include brief reference to major findings of the paper and not simply review what was done. Summaries will be published in both English and French (or in the official language of the country in which the work was done) and will be translated as appropriate by the Editorial Board.

Format of tables, numbers, metric units, references, etc. should match recent issues. Note particularly: authors’ names should be listed with surname (family name) last, with given names or initials preceding it (e.g. John A. Smith); dates are written 2 Feb 1990 but months standing alone may be written in full; times of day are written 6h45, 17h32 and coordinates as e.g. 7°46′13″N (no leading zeros) or as decimal degrees with up to five decimal places (e.g. 1.23456°N), but not as decimal minutes; numbers up to ten are written in full, except when followed by abbreviated units (e.g. 6 m), numbers from 11 upwards are written in figures except at the beginning of a sentence. All references mentioned in the article, and only such, must be listed in the bibliography.

Taxonomic sequence and scientific names (and preferably also vernacular names) should follow either Borrow & Demey (2001, Birds of Western Africa, Christopher Helm, London) with names (but not sequence) as amended in Borrow & Demey (2014, Birds of Western Africa, Bloomsbury, London), or The Birds of Africa (Brown et al. 1982, Urban et al. 1986, 1997, Fry et al. 1988, Keith et al. 1992, Fry & Keith 2000, 2004, Academic Press, London), unless reasons for departure from these authorities are stated. However, the words “Common” and “African” should only be applied if they are part of a long-established common name.

Avifaunal articles must contain a map or gazetteer, including all localities mentioned. They should include brief notes on climate, topography, vegetation, and conditions or unusual events prior to or during the study (e.g. late rains etc.). Species lists should include only significant records; full lists are justified only for areas previously unstudied or unvisited for many years. Otherwise, include only species for which the study provides new information on range, period of residence, breeding etc. For each species, indicate range extensions, an assessment of abundance (see Malimbus 17: 36) and dated breeding records; indicate migratory status and period of residence only if revealed by the study. Where appropriate, put data in context by brief comparison with an authoritative regional checklist. Lengthy species lists may be in tabular form (e.g. Malimbus 25: 4–30, 24: 15–22, 23: 1–22, 1: 22–28, or 1: 49–54) or in the textual format of recent issues. A more complete guide for authors of avifaunal papers, including the preferred abundance scale, appeared in Malimbus 17: 35–39 and a fuller version of this may be found below. The Editor will be happy to advise on the presentation of specific studies.

When designing Figures, and particularly font size, pay attention to Malimbus page shape and size. Figures prepared in a graphics package and saved at high resolution are preferred. Low-resolution files and poor-quality scans will not be accepted. Authors are encouraged to submit photographs that illustrate salient points of their article. Photographs should preferably be in colour and at high resolution. Figures and photographs should be supplied as graphics files (e.g. jpg or tif), and not pasted into a Word file. Consult the Editor for further advice.

A pdf file of Papers and Short Notes, and one paper copy of the issue in which they appear, will be sent to single or senior authors, gratis.

Additional guidelines for avifaunal articles

Malimbus publishes many articles comprising single-site, regional or national species lists. Such papers should follow, as closely as possible, the following guidelines.

1. Localities. Every avifaunal article must contain a map or gazetteer, including all localities mentioned. A map should include border and scale, and the border should bear latitude and longitude marks. A complete grid at the degree or half-degree scale may be helpful, but beware of curved lines of latitude or longitude on many projections. Bear in mind Malimbus page size when choosing lettering size on maps.  Click here to view an example map and here to view an example gazeteer.

2. Background information. The paper should include brief notes on climate, topography and vegetation. It should also discuss climatic conditions, state of the vegetation, and unusual events prior to or during the study (e.g. long, late or abnormally heavy rains, fires, locust swarms etc.).

3. Results: the species list. Lists should include only significant new information. Full lists for countries or smaller sites, reviewing and consolidating former knowledge, are justified only for areas previously little-studied, or not visited for many years, or where conditions have changed dramatically. Otherwise, include only species for which the study provides significant new information on range, period of residence, breeding etc. For each species, indicate where possible the following: migratory status (resident, Palaearctic migrant, intra-African migrant etc.); period of residence (only as shown by the study: do not simply assume residence for normally resident species); range extensions; an assessment of abundance, and dated breeding records. Abundance assessment should wherever possible adhere to the following scheme:

Very Abundant (VA) >100 may be seen or heard in suitable habitat per day
Abundant (A) 11-100 may be seen or heard in suitable habitat per day
Common (C) 1-10 may be seen or heard in suitable habitat per day
Frequent (F) often seen but not every day
Uncommon (U) several records per year
Rare (R) one record per several years (resident species)
Vagrant (V) one record per several years (non-residents)

Breeding records should be dated precisely, so that they may be extrapolated to month of laying. Present the original observation (e.g. "newly-fledged young 10 Mar"; "nine out of 15 trapped females with Stage 3 brood patches, 1-14 Jun"), rather than the extrapolation. Extrapolated data should only be used in separate analyses of breeding seasons for a population or avifauna.

Where appropriate, set data in context by brief comparison with an authoritative regional checklist. This may be done by summarising previously known distribution, or dates of presence, or breeding season (as necessary to set your own observation in context), in square brackets at the end of the species account.

Include Family names as subheads in systematic lists.  In lists and tables, present the scientific name before the vernacular.  Lengthy species lists may be in tabular form (e.g. Malimbus 25: 14–30, 24: 18–20, 23: 410, 1: 22 –28, or 1: 49–54), if data may conveniently be so abbreviated, or in the textual format (e.g. Malimbus 25: 86-93, 24: 25-31, 19: 85-94). To view single page extracts of example tabular lists click here and textual lists click here.  To consult online the complete papers containing these examples, click here.  

Publications