White winged Triller

Quick Facts

Length: 18 cn
Height: -
Weight: 26 grams
Colour: -
Habitat: Open woodlands and forest, tree-lined waterways in semi-arid regions
Food: Mainly insects but will eat fruit and seeds and occasionally nectar
Predators: -
Status: Not Present in TAS. Secure in all other states and territories

The White-winged Triller is a small, compact bird with a short slender bill, long wings and a rather long tail with a rounded tip. In breeding plumage, the male and female are quite different. The breeding male is black above, on the head and body and wing coverts, and white below, on the lower face, body and under-wings. There is a wide white shoulder bar. Non-breeding males are brown with light underparts and a faint pale brow and dark line through the eye. The female is similar, though the male has a greyer rump. All birds have a netted pattern on the wings - black and white on the breeding male and dark brown to light brown in the eclipse plumage (non-breeding) male and the female.

This triller is also known as the Jardine Triller, White-shouldered Triller or even the Caterpillar-eater.

The White-winged Triller is slightly smaller than the Varied Triller, which has a prominent white eyebrow, rather than a slight buff line in the White-winged (in non-breeding plumage). The breeding male has no eyebrow line at all. The similarly patterned males of the Pied Honeyeater are slightly smaller and have a fine, downcurved bill; their behaviour and calls are also quite different.

The White-winged Triller is found all over the Australian mainland but is more common in the south-east, the far north of Northern Territory and in the Kimberleys and the west of Western Australia. There are casual sightings in northern Tasmania.

The White-winged Triller is found in open woodlands and forest, tree-lined waterways in semi-arid regions and the nearby scrub. This is mainly lightly timbered country with an open shrub layer and grassy ground-cover.

The White-winged Triller is a breeding migrant to southern Australia in summer (August to March). It overwinters in the inland and northern Australia and may also do so in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. It is seen in the north throughout the year.

The White-winged Triller forages busily for insects on the foliage of high trees and also 'hawks' insects in the air. It hunts from a high perch, chasing flying insects.It also feeds on the ground, eating mainly insects, and fruit, seeds and occasionally nectar.

White-winged Trillers build small nests on horizontal branches or forks. The nest is a small frail cup of bark, grasses and fine material, bound with spiders' web. They sometimes use the empty nests of other birds, favouring the mud nests ofMagpie-larks. They will breed in colonies, with many nests in one tree. Both parents incubate and brood the nestlings.

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Friday 6th September, 2013
BirdLife Australia - www.birdlife.org.au


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