Pied triller

   ›      ›   Pied triller - Lalage nigra

The pied triller (Lalage nigra) belongs to the family of cuckooshrikes and trillers, the Campephagidae.

The pied triller species is distributed in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines. In India, these triller species occur only in the Little Andaman Island and the Nicobar Islands. These trillers are polytypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Pied Triller Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The pied triller (Lalage nigra) is a medium-sized triller, measuring 16 to 18 cm in length and weighing 20 to 30 grams.

The male pied triller has black forehead, crown, nape, mantle and scapulars. The rump and tail are gray. The wings have pied pattern. There is a dark eye-stripe passing through the eyes and extends up to the nape. There is a broad white supercilium.

The underparts are whitish in males. The female is similar, but has pale brown plumage. The females have fine black barring on the underparts.

The bill of the pied triller is pointed and dark gray. The irises are black. The feet are black. Their call is a nasal, chuckling "wheek.. wheek..wheek" sounds.
Indian birds - Picture of Pied triller - Lalage nigra
1.Birds of India - Image of Pied triller - Lalage nigra by Lip Kee


Birds of India - Photo of Pied triller - Lalage nigra
2.Indian birds - Picture of Pied triller - Lalage nigra by lonelyshrimp

Indian birds - Image of Pied triller - Lalage nigra
3.Birds of India - Photo of Pied triller - Lalage nigra by Lip Kee

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The pied triller species is distributed in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines. In India, these species occur only in the Little Andaman Island and the Nicobar Islands.

The pied triller nominate subspecies L. n. nigra is distributed in Borneo (Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia), Philippines and neighboring islands. The subspecies L. n. davisoni is distributed in the Little Andaman Island and the Nicobar Islands.

The subspecies L. n. striga is distributed in southern Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia (Sumatra, Nias Island, Bangka Island, Belitung Island, Karimunjava archipelago and Western Java).

Ecosystem and habitat

These pied triller species have moderate forest dependence. They normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 100 meters. The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these species include plantations, agricultural lands, rural gardens and urban parks.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these triller species include, subtropical and tropical moist lowland forests, subtropical and tropical mangroves, dry shrublands, dry deciduous forests, open woodlands and edge of forests.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the pied triller consists mainly of insects. Lepidopteran caterpillars, grubs and insects like grasshoppers, locust, cicadas, crickets, dragonflies, ants, termites, bugs, moths, mantids and beetles are their primary food.

They also feed on fruits, berries, seeds, nuts and other plant matter. These trillers tend to forage on the lower branches of the trees. They also feed from the ground.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these pied triller species is from February to August in Malay Peninsula. These species breed during the month of May in Nicobar Islands. The laying season is from February to April and June to August in Sumatra.

These triller species are monogamous and territorial. The nesting sites include forked branches of trees 3-4 meters above the ground level. The nest is built with twigs, leaves and strands of creepers.

Both pair of the trillers take part in incubating eggs and rearing nestlings. The clutch usually consists of two to three eggs. The hatchlings are fed with insects. The nestlings produce fecal sacs (feces surrounded by a mucous membrane) and the parents dispose them some distance from the nest.

Migration and movement patterns

These pied triller species are non-migratory resident birds.

Post breeding, the juvenile trillers may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range.

Pied triller - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Lalage nigra
  • Species author: (Forster, 1781)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Turdus niger J. R. Forster, 1781
  • Family: Campephagidae › Passeriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Pied triller, Chinese: 黑鸣鹃鵙, French: Échenilleur térat, German: Weißstirn-Raupenfänger, Spanish: Oruguero pío, Russian: Белолобый личинкоед-свистун, Japanese: マダラナキサンショウクイ, Indonesian: Burung Kapasan Kemiri
  • Other names: Pied cuckooshrike, Pied Triller
  • Distribution: India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, insect larvae, caterpillars, fruits, berries
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the pied triller (Lalage nigra) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be stable.

In most of its range, this species is reported to be common and locally uncommon to rare in certain areas. The generation length is 3.7 years. Its distribution size is about 7,010,000 sq.km.

Habitat alteration and destruction, deforestation and capture for pet-trade are the main threats that are endangering the survival of this triller species.

IUCN and CITES status

The pied triller (Lalage nigra) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the triller species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for pied triller (Lalage nigra).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Lalage nigra
Species:L. nigra
Binomial name:Lalage nigra
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The pied triller (Lalage nigra) is closely related to white-rumped triller (Lalage leucopygialis) and white-shouldered triller (Lalage sueurii).

The three recognized subspecies of pied triller (Lalage nigra) are: Lalage nigra nigra (J. R. Forster, 1781), Lalage nigra davisoni Kloss, 1926 and Lalage nigra striga (Horsfield, 1821).
Popular posts on Birds of India
Violet cuckoo Blue-throated barbet
Small pratincole Little gull
Eastern spotted dove Asian (western) koel
Tawny owl Great barbet
Yellow-rumped honeyguide Eurasian wryneck
Square-tailed drongo-cuckoo Red turtle dove
Black-headed gull Collared pratincole
Wood snipe Indian thick-knee
Eurasian oystercatcher Great thick-knee
Crab-plover Beach thick-knee
Ibisbill Black-winged stilt
Black-headed cuckooshrike Mangrove whistler
White-tailed lapwing Black-tailed godwit
Sabine's gull Orange-breasted green pigeon
Andaman coucal Spotted owlet
Sirkeer malkoha Asian barred owlet
White-cheeked barbet Brown-capped pygmy woodpecker
Indian pitta Bar-winged flycatcher-shrike
Black-winged cuckooshrike Sociable lapwing
Asian dowitcher Black-legged kittiwake
Nicobar pigeon Greater coucal
Western hooded pitta Common woodshrike
White-breasted woodswallow Marshall's iora
Andaman cuckooshrike Long-billed dowitcher
Red-wattled lapwing Lesser black-backed gull
Long-tailed broadbill Common emerald dove
Blue-naped pitta Large woodshrike
Yellow-wattled lapwing Great snipe
Franklin's gull Barred cuckoo-dove
Jungle owlet Golden-throated barbet

1.Pied triller photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lipkee/1713452628/ (cropped)
Photo author: Lip Kee | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 as on 1/3/18
2.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lonelyshrimp/33153884071/ (cropped)
Photo author: lonelyshrimp | License: Public domain as on 1/3/18
3.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lipkee/457704639/ (cropped)
Photo author: Lip Kee | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 as on 1/3/18
Current topic in Birds of India: Pied triller - Lalage nigra.
Contact State Tourism or travel agents for bird watching and wildlife tours.