General Description

Adult: upper body and head dark grey, underparts pale red-brown. Tail dark-brown with the underside striped black and white. Yellow ring around the eyes and a small white patch on the shoulders. Young birds: body duller with brown stripes and brown edges on feathers. Bill to tail length is up to 30 cm. Their main call is a sad, descending trill.


Fan-tailed Cuckoos are a brood parasite with females laying a single egg in nests made by other birds, such as thornbills, scrubwrens or fairy-wrens. Females will remove one of the host's eggs from the nest after she has laid her own. The cuckoo chick generally hatches before the other eggs and proceeds to remove the remaining eggs and any hatchlings from the nest. The cuckoo chick is completely reared by its 'foster' parents. Fan-tailed Cuckoos are partly migratory, with Tasmanian individuals migrating to the mainland for the non-breeding season. They feed on insects and their larvae, catching their prey on the ground or in flight.


New Guinea, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Fiji. East and south-western mainland Australia and Tasmania.


Forests and woodlands.

More Information