A mostly grayish cuckoo with banding below, including a broad rusty band across the upper breast. The immature has barred underparts and a charcoal back, throat, and breast. It can be very secretive, and when it flies fast on pointed wings, it strongly resembles a small goshawk. Its brood-parasite hosts include wagtails, robin-chats, and thrushes. Resident and (in the southern parts of its range) migrant. Its presence is most often evidenced by its incessant and loud three-note “Pete-my-wife” song.