This large cuckoo has two morphs: (1) entirely black except for white tips to the long tail and sometimes limited white barring elsewhere, and (2) dark-backed with a rufous chest and black-and-white-barred underparts. The latter are more frequently found in West Central Africa. It has a characteristically swerving flight. It is resident and migrant, preferring thicker woodland and forest, It produces a mournful, three-noted call “I’m so saaaaad” call, the last note rising. Similar dark-morph Jacobin and Levaillant’s cuckoos differ from Black Cuckoo in having crests and strong white flashes in the wings.