The Pallid Cuckoo is a large, slender bird. It has a distinctive grey body, with a yellow eye ring and stripes on the tail. The bill is black and the tail dark grey with thin stripes.
The Pallid Cuckoo is often heard calling at the beginning of spring. The loud monotonous call of about eight notes ascends the musical scale and birds may call for hours on end. Like most cuckoos, this species is a brood-parasite, laying the eggs in the nests of other birds, so that the host bird species raises the cuckoo chick. They feed mainly on insects and their larvae, especially hairy caterpillars.