Forktail guidelines

Forktail, Journal of the Oriental Bird Club – Guidelines for Contributors

Forktail publishes original papers in the English language (also, in certain cases, English translations of papers in Oriental languages) treating any aspect of the ornithology (e.g. distribution, biology, conservation, identification) of the region bounded by the Indus River to the west, the Russian Far East, Korean Peninsula, Japan, and Lydekker’s Line (i.e. the eastern boundary of Wallacea) to the east, and the Chagos Archipelago, Lesser Sundas, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands to the south (see map in Oriental Bird Club Bull. 31:7). Submissions are considered on the understanding that they are being offered solely for publication by the Oriental Bird Club, which will retain copyright. All submissions are reviewed by referees and the Forktail Editorial Committee, and those accepted are normally published in order of receipt. (Some further indication of the type of material appropriate for the journal is provided in the inaugural editorial, ‘The scope of Forktail‘, Forktail 1: 3-5.)

Submissions should be sent electronically as an email attachment to If this is not possible, manuscripts may be sent on disk, preferably in PC format, to the Senior Editor, Forktail, OBC, P.O. Box 324, Bedford, MK42 0WG, U.K. In both cases, the text, tables, figure legends and appendices should be combined as a single Word file. Figures (maps, diagrams, images etc.) should be sent as high-resolution scans in standard file formats (JPEG, TIFF etc) or, if this is not possible, originals may be posted to the above address. Maps should be marked with a scale and north arrow. The approximate position of figures and tables should be indicated in the margin of the typescript. Papers should be concise and factual, take full account of previous relevant literature but avoid repetition of established information as much as possible; opinions expressed should be based on adequate evidence. Titles of papers must be accurate and concise, and (for the benefit of abstraction services) include any relevant scientific (taxonomic) name.

Whenever possible, authors should consult an issue of Forktail for style and layout. Spelling follows The shorter Oxford English dictionary, except that external features of birds are spelt and hyphenated in accordance with the entry under ‘Topography’ in A dictionary of birds (1985). Spelling of place-names accords (unless another source is specified) with the most recent edition (currently tenth, 1999) of The Times atlas of the world; we use ‘South-East Asia’ and ‘Vietnam’. Localities with well-known other spellings or older names should have these placed in parentheses after their first mention. For localities too small to be in the Times atlas a source of the spelling adopted should preferably be indicated and the precise geographical co-ordinates provided (these should be double-checked where possible). It is appreciated that authors will not always have access to the above sources; in such cases the editor will seek to introduce conformity.

English and scientific names of birds should follow those provided by Inskipp, T., Lindsey, N. and Duckworth, W. (1996) An annotated checklist of the birds of the Oriental region. On first mention of a bird both English and scientific name should be given, thereafter only one, preferably the English. Scientific trinominals need be used only if subspecific nomenclature is relevant to the topic under discussion. These recommendations also apply for any other animal or plant species mentioned.

This table lists all species in the OBC checklist in the format required for tables in Forktail (2.3 mb Word file). Authors are encouraged to use this as a template for tables and appendices to papers that are submitted to Forktail.

Italics are used for all words of foreign languages, including generic and specific scientific names. Metric units and their international symbols should be used; if it is necessary to cite other systems of measurement, these can be added in parentheses. Temperatures should be given in the Centigrade (Celsius) scale. Numbers one to ten are written in full except when linked with a measurement abbreviation or higher number, thus ‘five birds’ but ‘5 km’ and ‘5-12 birds’; numerals are used for all numbers above ten, four-figure numbers and above using the comma thus: ‘1,234’, ‘12,345’. Single quotation marks are to be used. Details of experimental technique, extensive tabulations of results, etc., are best presented as appendices. Authors of papers containing statistical analysis should observe the provisions of the relevant section of ‘Notice to contributors’ in a recent Ibis. Dates should be written 1 January 1985, times of day as 08h30, 17h55 (24-hour clock), etc. When citing a conversation (‘verbally’) or letter (‘in litt.‘), the contact’s name and initials should be included, preferably with the year of communication. A full-length paper must include a summary not exceeding 5% of the total length.

Authors of papers are encouraged to offer their work to one or more ornithologist or biologist for critical assessment prior to submission to Forktail. Such help as is received should naturally be mentioned in an acknowledgement section before the full references are presented.

References in the text should follow the form ‘(Campbell and Lack 1985)’ and ‘King et al. (1975) suggest…’. More than one within the same parentheses should be chronologically listed, alphabetically if of the same year. Publications by the same authors in the same year may be distinguished by ‘a’, ‘b’, etc., after the date. Full references must be listed alphabetically at the end in the form:

Campbell, B. and Lack, E. eds. (1985) A dictionary of birds. Calton (Staffordshire, U.K.): T. and A. D. Poyser.

King, B. F., Dickinson, E. C. and Woodcock, M. W. (1975) A field guide to the birds of South-East Asia. London: Collins.

Kuroda, Nh., ed. (1984) Ketteiban seibutsu daizukan;chorui [Illustrations of animals and plants: birds]. Tokyo: Sekai Bunkasha. (In Japanese.)

Rosljakov, G. E. (1985) [‘Information on the distribution and numbers of Aix galericulata and Mergus squamatus over Chabarovsk Territory.’] Pp. 101-102 in N. M. Litvinenko, ed. Rare and endangered birds of the Far East.

Vladivostok: Far East Science Center, Academy of Sciences of the USSR. (In Russian.)

Sien Yao-hua, Kuan Kuan-Hs©n and Zheng Zuo-xin (1964) [‘An avifaunal survey of the Chinghai province.’] Acta Zool. Sinica 16: 690-709. (In Chinese.)

Smythies, B. E. (1981) The birds of Borneo. Third edition. Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur: The Sabah Society and the Malayan Nature Society.

Somadikarta, S. (1986) Collocalia linchi Horsfield & Moore ± a revision. Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 106: 32-40.

White, C. M. N. and Bruce, M. D. (1986) The birds of Wallacea (Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia): an annotated check-list. London: British Ornithologists’ Union (Check-list no. 7).

It will be noted from these examples that references to non-Roman scripts need to be transliterated and/or translated (or even, with more recondite sources, both); either the transliterated title may be left as it is, or a translation of it can be substituted in square brackets (but where an abstract provides its own English title, this may be cited in inverted commas within square brackets), and the language involved should follow the reference, in parentheses.

The author’s name, postal address and email address should appear in italics at the end of the article.

Authors will receive proofs for checking, which they are required to return within one week of receipt (no more than four weeks can be allowed between posting out and taking return of proofs). All joint communications must indicate the name and full postal address of the author to whom proofs should be sent. Textual changes in proof cannot normally be countenanced. Reprints are available on request.