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22

Varied Triller

(Lalage leucomela)
Alternate name(s): "Pied Caterpillar-eater", "White-eyebrowed Caterpillar-eater", "White-browed Triller"
Size: 18-20 cm
Weight: 30-40 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Varied Triller at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "leucomela"

ADULT

MALE

Lateral view of a male Varied Triller with a fruit (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

Lateral view of a male Varied Triller (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Copeland, NSW, February 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a male Varied Triller (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Town of 1770, QLD, September 2017]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Varied Triller (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Toonumbar State Forest, northern NSW, May 2017]

Near-frontal view of a female Varied Triller (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Toonumbar State Forest, northern NSW, May 2017]

Near-lateral view of a female Varied Triller (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Toonumbar State Forest, northern NSW, May 2017]

Lateral view of a female Varied Triller (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Toonumbar State Forest, northern NSW, May 2017]

Near-ventral view of a (probably) female Varied Triller
[Broadwater NP, NSW, May 2014]

Race "rufiventris"

ADULT

MALE

Near-lateral view of a male Varied Triller (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, July 2012]

Lateral view of a male Varied Triller (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, September 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a male Varied Triller (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, September 2018]

Close-up ventral/lateral view of a male Varied Triller (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Darwin, NT, February 2018]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Varied Triller
[East Point, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Frontal view of a female Varied Triller (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Holmes Jungle NR, Darwin, NT, August 2013]

Lateral view of the same female Varied Triller as shown above (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Holmes Jungle NR, Darwin, NT, August 2013]

Distant lateral view of a female Varied Triller (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, July 2012]

Near-dorsal view of a female Varied Triller; this is the bird whose calls were recorded on 26 June 2018 (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, June 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a female Varied Triller (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Harrison Dam CR, near Humpty Doo, NT, May 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a female Varied Triller (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, June 2018]

Ventral view of a female Varied Triller
[East Point, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

FEMALE

Frontal view of an immature Varied Triller, as indicated by the striation on the shoulders, moulting into adult plumage; the fact that this bird is developing a barred front indicates that it is a female (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Near Dripstone Cliffs, Darwin, NT, December 2017]

Frontal view of an immature Varied Triller, as indicated by the striation on the shoulders, moulting into adult plumage; the fact that this bird is developing a barred front indicates that it is a female (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Near Dripstone Cliffs, Darwin, NT, December 2017]

Lateral view of an immature Varied Triller moulting into adult plumage; the fact that this bird is developing a barred front indicates that it is a female (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Near Dripstone Cliffs, Darwin, NT, December 2017]

Dorsal view of an immature Varied Triller moulting into adult plumage; the fact that this bird is developing a grey-brownish back indicates that it is a female (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Near Dripstone Cliffs, Darwin, NT, December 2017]

Race "yorki"

ADULT

MALE

Near-lateral view of a male Varied Triller (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Julatten, QLD, July 2018]

FEMALE

Ventral view of a female Varied Triller (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Julatten, QLD, July 2018]

Ventral view of a female Varied Triller with its prey, in this case a caterpillar (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Rocky Creek, Cairns, QLD, July 2013]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Sep - Dec Eggs: 1 Incubation period: ? Fledging age: ?

The period listed in the table above for the breeding season is a core range; the breeding season depends on geographic latitude and in favourable conditions it can extend to about March.

Nest building: Female & male Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Basket Material: Root fibres, vine tendrils, webs Height above ground: ?

Female Varied Triller collecting nest material, in this case very fine root firbres (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, December 2016]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 26 x 18 mm Colour: White, with grey to grey-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Note that the single egg of a Varied Triller is very large compared to the size of the bird (and its tiny nest).

Food, Diet

Varied Trillers feed primarily on small insects, including caterpillars.

Like other insect eaters, Varied Trillers kill their prey first, before devouring it; here a female Varied Triller whacking a caterpillar against the branch it is sitting on
[East Point, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Like other insect eaters, Varied Trillers kill their prey first, before devouring it; here a female Varied Triller whacking a caterpillar against the branch it is sitting on
[East Point, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Like other insect eaters, Varied Trillers kill their prey first, before devouring it; here a female Varied Triller whacking a caterpillar against the branch it is sitting on
[East Point, Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Near-frontal view of a female Varied Triller with a fruit (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Coomalie Creek, 90 km south of Darwin, NT, June 2018]

"Yeph, it doeth phit in!" (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Coomalie Creek, 90 km south of Darwin, NT, June 2018]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

vartril_pb_20160626_2.m4a rufiventris
(Top End, NT)
Contact call? (female) © PB
vartril_pb_20160626.m4a rufiventris
(Top End, NT)
Contact calls? (female) © PB

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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