Advice to Contributors, SA Ornithologist

Aims: The South Australian Ornithologist aims to publish material on the birds of Australia, with an emphasis on the birds of South Australia. We publish papers and bird notes that are peer-reviewed, plus book reviews and obituaries that are the authors’ personal views, and annual bird reports. Submissions should be concise, original, and consider previous relevant literature. Manuscripts should be exclusively submitted to this journal. Contributors need not be Birds SA members.

Submissions: We prefer manuscripts that are submitted electronically but, if necessary, accept printed copies. Manuscripts should be typed with >2.5 cm margins, with text unjustified and without end-of-line hyphenation, except for compound words. Manuscripts should be consistent and simple without special fonts, elaborate formatting or indents (except for long quotations). Papers should begin with an abstract but notes and other articles should not. Avoid footnotes unless they are absolutely necessary. The following word limits are advised: papers 8,000 words, bird notes and obituaries 3,500, book reviews 1,700; however, longer articles will be considered.

Figures and Tables: These should be self-explanatory and designed to fit within the margins of the journal (single page width 146 mm). Tables should be placed at the end of the text, and figures should be saved separately, not embedded in the text. Place captions for the tables and figures after the references as they will be formatted separately. Letters, numbers and symbols within the graphics must be clear. Ensure that stippling and/or symbols are legible at the size likely to be used in the published paper. Photographs and figures should be sharp and high quality (1200 dpi for line art, 600 dpi for greyscale and 300 dpi for colour). Please credit relevant photographers, artists and cartographers.

Nomenclature: When a species of animal or plant is first mentioned give both its English and scientific name, the latter unbracketed and italicised, e.g. Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura. Thereafter only use one, and always the same name.
Nomenclature and systematic order are based, subject to revision, on

Horton, P., Blaylock, B. and Black, A. 2020. Annotated List of the Birds of South Australia, 5th edition, version 5.1. Birds SA, Department for Environment and Water, South Australia, and South Australian Museum, Adelaide. AVES_Jan 2020 ( For world bird names refer to: IOC World Bird List – Version 11.2 (

Scientific plant names, subject to revision, are according to the Electronic Flora of South Australia, Census of SA Plants, Algae and Fungi ( Note use of capitals, e.g. six Superb Fairywrens, but an unidentified fairywren; one Fat-tailed Dunnart, but several dunnarts; one Ruby Saltbush.

References: List references alphabetically at the end of the paper with names of authors and periodicals given in full. Avoid referring to web pages if possible because they
constantly change and have poor longevity. Authors are cited in the text thus: Baxter (2010); (Marchant and Higgins 1993); (Mathews 1912; Blakers et al. 1984) (multiple citations in date order). Note et al. is used where a cited paper has three or more authors. In the reference list, for references with seven or fewer authors, list all author names. For those with more than seven authors, list the first six followed by et al.

Authors must reasonably endeavour to locate and cite the primary or original sources of their information. In some cases handbooks, field guides and compendiums (although valuable resources) do not suffice as the primary reference.

The following style should be used for references:

Pavey, C. R. and Joseph, L. 2004. The occurrence of the Slender-billed Thornbill Acanthiza iredalei in the Northern Territory. South Australian Ornithologist 34: 170–175.

Barrett, G., Silcocks, A., Barry, S., Cunningham, R. and Poulter, R. 2003. The New Atlas of Australian Birds. Birds Australia, Melbourne.

Close, D. 1982. Birds of the Ninety Mile Desert. In The Ninety Mile Desert of South Australia. C. R. Harris, A. R. Reeves and D. C. Symon (eds). Nature Conservation Society of South Australia, Adelaide, pp. 85–87.

Marchant, S. and Higgins, P. J. (eds). 1990. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 1B: Australian Pelican to Ducks. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

SAOA. 1995. Bird Records. South Australian Ornithological Association Newsletter 155: 15.

Style, measurements and abbreviations: Style generally follows the Style Manual: for authors, editors and printers, Sixth edition, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra 2002, or the current online edition. We encourage the use of the first person for a direct and engaging style. Spelling follows The Macquarie Dictionary, Eighth Edition, Macquarie Dictionary Publishers, Sydney, 2020. Use ‘s’ not ‘z’ in words such as ‘recognise’, and ‘ou’ in words like ‘colour’. Use single quotation marks, except where ‘a quotation is “within” a quotation’. Check that all references mentioned in the text are in the References, and vice versa. To abbreviate, first use the full wording followed by the abbreviation in brackets, then use the abbreviation only. Numbers under 10 are spelled out and then Arabic numerals are used, e.g. nine whistlers but 10 finches. However, if a sentence or paragraph contains other numbers larger than 10, all numbers, including those under 10, should be given as Arabic numerals. No sentence should start with an Arabic numeral. Type a space between a numeral and its unit, e.g. 3 m. For time use the 24-hour clock system, e.g. 0735–2050 h. Give dates in the form 1 November 2008, though in tables and figures dates may be given as 1/11/2008, 20/9/2021 or 20/9/21. Geographical references should be in the form: 20 km NE (or north-east) of Adelaide; southern areas of South Australia; 35° 24′ S, 138° 39′ E. Other abbreviations are in the form: 8 x 42 binoculars; 2% (two percent); 3 m (three metres);
x¯ (mean); sd (standard deviation); χ2 (Chi square); birds/km2 or birds per km2. Statistical symbols should not be italicised. Use lower case p for probability, N for population size, n for sample size.

Population Studies: Reviews of the birds of an area should include the habitats and climate and a summary of relevant literature. Include a map showing localities mentioned in the text, an insert showing the locality in Australia, and a scale. Extensive data on many species should be given in a table(s) or an annotated list. Summarise repeated patterns as ranges on each visit (e.g. 3–10 during Aug–Oct 2011–13), using measures of variance if there are sufficient data (e.g. means and standard deviations). If possible report breeding, seasonal movements, population trends, and other significant observations.

Editorial assistance: The editors will provide some assistance in the preparation of a manuscript. Submissions without a reasonable attempt to conform to the specifications above will be returned to the author for correction before being refereed. Acceptance of a manuscript will be subject to the decision of the editors.

Revised July 2022