The diet of the white-winged triller consists of a variety of insects, as well as some spiders, fruits and seeds (2) (5) (6) (7). This species has also been recorded feeding on nectar (2) (5). The scientific name of the cuckoo-shrike family, Campephagidae, means ‘caterpillar-eaters’, and like many other members of the family the white-winged triller is known to feed on crop-damaging caterpillars (3).
The white-winged triller usually forages alone or in pairs, but sometimes also forms small flocks, occasionally with other species (2) (8). Food may be taken from the ground, among fallen timber, or from foliage, trunks or branches. The white-winged triller may also catch insects in the air (2) (5) (6) (7) (8).
The breeding season of the white-winged triller varies with location, but usually occurs between June and March in Australia and from September to December in New Guinea. In arid parts of Australia, this species may breed opportunistically after rains (2). In some areas, pairs of white-winged trillers aggressively defend a territory (7), but in other areas they may breed in loose colonies with other pairs (2) (5) (7).
The white-winged triller is a monogamous species (2) and both the male and female help to construct the nest (2) (3) (7). Usually built on a horizontal fork in a branch, or sometimes within a clump of leaves or mistletoe, the nest consists of a small, frail cup of dry grass, bark, stems, roots, moss, wool and other materials (2) (5) (6) (7). These materials are bound together with cobwebs (2) (5) (7), and the nest is lined with fine grass and rootlets (2). The white-winged triller’s nest is built with a small rim, but this gradually becomes flattened by the birds during use until only a flat platform may remain (3) (7).
The female white-winged triller lays a clutch of one to three eggs, with two being most common (2) (7). The eggs are incubated by both the adults and hatch after about 14 days (2) (5) (7). The young white-winged trillers are cared for by both adults until they are 8 days old, after which the male suddenly stops feeding them, leaving the female alone to continue their care. The chicks of this species leave the nest at about 12 days old (2) (7).