A medium-sized cuckoo, with a warm buff colored chest and belly. Gray eyering and heavily barred tail. Lack of a yellow eyering separates it from Fan-tailed Cuckoo, with which it overlaps in Australasia. Also similar to Plaintive Cuckoo, which is much more richly-colored. Calls frequently with an exhaustive series of separate whistles that fall in pitch and speed. Also does the remarkable "brain-fever-bird," a call that is repeated faster and faster.