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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, or RTF document file format.
  • To ensure double-blind peer review, the submission must be accompanied by a cover sheet which includes (1) the title; (2) all authors and their affiliations (mailing addresses) phone numbers, and email addresses; (3) Acknowledgements. NB: Sometimes author details can appear in other parts of the text. Please ensure that these details are removed before submission. They can be re-inserted once the manuscript is fully accepted.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed at the end, on a separate page, numbered with Arabic numerals in the order in which they are to appear, and accompanied by an appropriate stand-alone caption.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  • Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.

Author Guidelines

Afrotropical Bird Biology (ABB) welcomes original contributions from both professional ornithologists and non-professional citizen scientists. The geographic scope of the e-journal includes the Afrotropics and its offshore islands, east of 25° W (to include the Cape Verdes), north of 60° S (to include Bouvet and some of the sea routes) and west of 70°E (to include islands in the eastern parts of the Malagasy region.

Submissions are considered on the condition that papers have not been submitted concurrently or published elsewhere, and that all authors have read and approve of the content.

All contributions will be reviewed by at least one editor and external, independent referees may also be employed at the discretion of the editors. All research papers will be peer-reviewed.

Editorial policy:

Contributions must conform to ethical principles. When reporting experiments involving live animals, authors must state in the methodology section of their article that the institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. The full name of the relevant ethics committee that approved the work, and the associated permit number(s) should be provided.

In the case of field studies, permits and approvals obtained for the work, including the full name of the authority that approved the study should be detailed. If no permits were required, authors should explain why. Submission of a manuscript implies that the material has not been published previously, nor is it being submitted elsewhere for publication. Contributions are accepted on the understanding that the authors have the authority for publication.


All manuscripts should follow the manuscript format outlined below and will be returned to the authors if not. Manuscripts should be submitted in English in MS Word via Afrotropical Bird Biology’s submissions page. Should you have difficulty submitting material online, please contact the journal manager .

A recent issue of Afrotropical Bird Biology (ABB) should be consulted for general layout and style.

Research articles manuscript format:

Sections — All pages must be numbered consecutively, including those containing the references, tables and figures. Authors must also insert line numbering. Text should be written in clear English (UK spelling) and divided into the following sections in this order:
(1) Abstract (not exceeding 300 words)
(2) Keywords
(3) Introduction
(4) Methods
(5) Results
(6) Discussion
(7) Acknowledgements
(8) References
(9) Tables
(10) Appendices
(11) Figure legends

Research article length: No more than 6000 words for the abstract and body text, but excluding references and table/figure captions. Longer papers may be considered after consulting with the editor.

Short Communications manuscript format:

(1) Abstract
(2) Keywords

Short Communication manuscript length: No more than 2500 words.


Ensure figures conform to the journal style. Pay particular attention to line thickness, font and figure proportions. The resolution of images should be at least 300 dpi. These can be saved (in order of preference) as PSD, TIFF, EPS, PDF or JPEG files. Graphs, charts or maps should be exported as AI, WMF, EMF, EPS, PDF or SVG files. MS Powerpoint and Excel files are acceptable. Do not embed images in the Word document, rather use "Insert Picture from File".

More detailed technical information is given in Figure Guidelines for Authors.


Each table, numbered with Arabic numerals in the order in which they are to appear, must be on a separate page with the table number and an appropriate stand-alone caption. Tables may include up to five horizontal lines but no vertical lines.


References to literature within an article must be arranged chronologically in the following forms:
Swart (1972); Swart (1972a, 1972b); Swart and White (1973); Swart (1972, 1973); (Swart 1970, Smith 1971). For more than two authors, use the first author’s name followed by et al. (e.g. Urban et al. 1997). At the end of the manuscript list references alphabetically and then chronologically, using full journal titles, and adhere to the following formats (for additional examples refer to Reference Exemplars for Authors):
Payne RB, Payne LL. 1997. Field observations, experimental design, and the time and place of learning in bird songs. In: Snowdon C, Hausberger M (eds), Social influences on vocal development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp 57–84.
Urban EK, Fry CH, Keith S (eds). 1997. The birds of Africa, vol. 5. London: Academic Press.
Vergara P, Aguirre JI, Fernández-Cruz M. 2007. Arrival date, age and breeding success in White Stork Ciconia ciconia. Journal of Avian Biology 38: 573–579.
Roberts Birds of Southern Africa (and other such edited regional works): Please note that when referencing a single species account, the author of that account should be cited, for example:
du Plessis MA. 2005. Green Woodhoopoe. In: Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ, Ryan PG (eds), Roberts birds of southern Africa (7th edn). Cape Town: Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. pp 162–164.
However, when referencing multiple accounts (e.g. extracting clutch-size data) the entire volume should be cited:
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ, Ryan PG (eds). 2005. Roberts birds of southern Africa (7th edn). Cape Town: Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund.


The English name of a species is capitalised (e.g. Southern Brown-throated Weaver) but not the name of a group of species (e.g. robins, weavers). Scientific names of genera and species – but not family names – and foreign words should be italicised. Trinomials may be used only when accurately known and essential to the results and discussion. Both the English and scientific names must be cited when a species is first mentioned but thereafter only one need be used. The English and scientific names of a species should follow the IOC world bird list. For southern African birds, please mention alternative names should these differ from those of the IOC according to official BirdLife South Africa checklists; for example, Hadada (Hadeda) Ibis Bostrychia hagedash.

Metric symbols and their international symbols are used throughout as is the decimal point and the 24-hour clock (e.g. 08:00, 17:25).

Dates should be written as 13 July 1973.

Ranges should have an en dash (3–5 km).

There should be a space before unit terms (23 °C, 5 kg, 5 kg d–¹ etc.) except for percentages (5%). Use ‘mass’ instead of ‘weight’.

The UK spelling convention should be followed.

There should be a single space between sentences.

The period (.) must be used as the decimal indicator, and spaces must appear before the third digit to the left of the decimal point (e.g. 1 234.56 g). Thousands/millions should be marked with a space and not a comma. The significance of statistical tests should be written in the form p < 0.001, and use ns for not significant. For stylistic conventions, refer to Presentation of Mathematical and Statistical Data.

Open access

ABB is an open access journal. All papers are published under the Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC license, which lets others remix, adapt, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.

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