Family Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Least Concern

Varied Triller (Lalage leucomela)


French: Échenilleur varié German: Weißbrauen-Raupenfänger Spanish: Oruguero variable

Campephaga Leucomela

Vigors and Horsfield

, 1827,

south-east Queensland, Australia


Formerly treated as conspecific with L. conjuncta, but plumage and voice markedly distinct. Races may well represent more than one species, but further research needed#R. Race trobriandi included in obscurior by some authors#R. Race trobriandi misspelt in HBW. Fifteen subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. l. keyensis Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1917 – Kai Is.
  • L. l. polygrammica (G. R. Gray, 1858) – Aru Is, and E & S New Guinea (E from Wau and Huon Gulf, S to Mimika R).
  • L. l. falsa E. J. O. Hartert, 1925 – S Bismarck Archipelago (Umboi, New Britain, Duke of York).
  • L. l. albidior E. J. O. Hartert, 1924 – New Hanover.
  • L. l. karu (Lesson & Garnot, 1827) – New Ireland.
  • L. l. sumunae Salomonsen, 1964 – Djaul I, off W New Ireland.
  • L. l. tabarensis Mayr, 1955 – Tabar Is, off N New Ireland.
  • L. l. ottomeyeri Stresemann, 1933 – Lihir Is (S of Tabar Is).
  • L. l. trobriandi Mayr, 1936 – Trobriand Is, off E New Guinea.
  • L. l. obscurior Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1917 – D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago (Goodenough, Fergusson, Normanby).
  • L. l. pallescens Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1917 – Louisiade Archipelago (Misima, Renard, Tagula).
  • L. l. macrura Schodde, 1989 – NE Western Australia (Kimberleys).
  • L. l. rufiventris (G. R. Gray, 1846) – N Northern Territory (Arnhem Land) and Melville I, in N Australia.
  • L. l. yorki Mathews, 1912 – coastal N Queensland (Cape York Peninsula) and islands in Torres Strait; also coastal Trans-Fly region of SC New Guinea.
  • L. l. leucomela (Vigors & Horsfield, 1827) – coastal E Queensland S to NE New South Wales (Newcastle area).
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19·5 cm; 24–37·5 g. Male nominate race has prominent white forehead and supercilium, black line through eye to nape, cheeks, ear-coverts and... read more


    Vocal, with loud, rolling, repeated “brreeer” or “cherwee” call; several... read more


    Tropical and subtropical rainforest, monsoon forest, dense eucalypt (Eucalyptus) forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on insects, including especially caterpillars (Lepidoptera), also grasshoppers (Orthoptera); fruit, berries and seeds also taken, and... read more


    Breeds Sept–Mar in Australia; Sept–Nov in New Guinea, but fledged young also seen Jun–Jul. Nest a very small, shallow cup... read more


    Sedentary over most of range. In Australia some movement suggested in Queensland, to S coastal... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common in much of range. Common in Kai Is and fairly common throughout its range in New Guinea and nearby islands; population estimated to be... read more

    Recommended citation

    Taylor, B. (2020). Varied Triller (Lalage leucomela). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 April 2020).