|Pied Triller in Ayala Alabang|
There are two kinds of black and white birds that are found in the village. One is the Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica), a very bold bird known for attacking dogs and cats that stray into its territory. The other black and white bird is the inconspicuous Pied Triller (Lalage nigra). The Pied Triller has a very apt name. In birding terminology, Pied means black and white. Triller refers to the musical, quavering "che-che-che-che" call it makes.
Male and female Pied Trillers can be told apart by their coloring. The males have all white underparts, while the females have grayish white underparts with fine barring. Both males and females have black heads, white eyebrows, black backs, and black and white wings. Like many other birds, the immature birds have similar coloring to the females.
Pied Trillers are usually found on tree tops, picking off caterpillars from the branches. Aside from caterpillars, they also eat moths and other kinds of insects. They are found all over the village in different kinds of trees.
Last summer, there was a Pied Triller nesting in a tree along our street. The tree was in front of or neighbor's house. One day, my husband and I approached the nest and were surprised when the usually low-key Pied Triller attacked us! It buzzed us -- flying straight at our heads as if it intended to hit us. It did this several times, swerving away at the last moment and calling out in alarm the whole time. Of course we shouldn't have been too surprised and should have known better than to approach a nesting bird. This is one of the golden rules of birding: do not disturb nesting birds! We quickly moved away from the nest and did not bother the bird again.
A few days ago, we were sitting outside our front door enjoying the breeze and noticed a Pied Triller perched on the topmost branch of our neighbor's akasya tree. It was just sitting quietly. Perhaps it was also enjoying the unusually cool breeze. We hope that this summer the Pied Triller returns to nest in our street again.