|Juvenile male yet to develop tail feathers, Enga Province|
The Ribbon-tailed Astrapia also known as Shaw Mayer's Astrapia, Astrapia mayeri is a medium-sized, up to 32 cm long (without including the tail of the male, which can be over 1 meter), velvet black bird of paradise. The male has an iridescent olive green and bronze plumage, and is adorned with ornamental "ball" plume above its bill and two extremely long, ribbon-like white tail feathers. The female is a brown bird with an iridescent head. Hybrids between this species and the Stephanie's Astrapia, in the small area where their ranges overlap, have been named Barnes' Astrapia.
One of the most spectacular birds of paradise, the male Ribbon-tailed Astrapia has the longest tail feathers in relation to body size of any bird, over three times the length of its body.
The Ribbon-tailed Astrapia is distributed and endemic to subalpine forests in western part of the central highlands of Papua New Guinea. Like many other ornamental birds of paradise, the male is polygamous. The Ribbon-tailed Astrapia is the latest bird of paradise to be discovered.
The scientific name commemorates the great naturalist and New Guinea explorer Fred Shaw Mayer, who was believed to have discovered the bird in 1938. However, it is now believed that explorer Jack Hides discovered the bird, while Mayer became interested in it later.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Astrapia mayeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Chandler, David & Couzens, Dominic. 100 Birds to See Before You Die ISBN 978-1-59223-958-0