A medium-sized bird that resembles a Shikra in plumage. Males have ashy-gray upperparts, white underparts with rufous streaking and barring, a broadly barred tail, and a distinct yellow eye rim. Females and juveniles are browner with bolder streaking below. During their breeding season males produce a loud, repetitive three note call. Common Hawk-Cuckoos feed mainly on insects and are specialised feeders that can handle hairy caterpillars. The species is arboreal and rarely descends to the ground. Mainly a brood parasite of babblers. Found in gardens, groves, and deciduous and semi-evergreen forests.