Small coucal with a black cap and buffy underparts. There is a localized West African population that shows black underparts, save for a rufous belly. Found in a variety of habitats with a thick understory, including tall grassland, scrub, thickets within savanna, and forest edge. Skulks in the undergrowth, occasionally emerging to sit on an exposed perch, especially when drying out after a rainstorm. Song is a descending and accelerating series of deep “boop” notes. In the small area of overlap with Burchell’s Coucal, separated by the plain black rather than barred top of the tail. Immature has a streaked back and resembles White-browed Coucal but is more rufous below. Much smaller than Black-throated and Coppery-tailed Coucals.