Throughout eastern Australia and south-western Western Australia and Tasmania, the descending mournful trill of the Fan-tailed Cuckoo is a familiar sound, particularly during the breeding season, which is between August and December in the east, and June to October in the west. Host species include flycatchers, fairy-wrens, scrubwrens and thornbills, particularly the Brown Thornbill. The Fan-tailed Cuckoo inhabits open wooded areas, where it is often seen perching on low, exposed branch. When sighted, it can be identified by its dark grey upperparts and soft buff underparts. The black tail is notched with white above, and barred black and white below. It can be distinguished from the superficially similar Brush Cuckoo, by its bright yellow eyering.