This bird is common in the Reserve and its call, a mournful descending trill, can frequently be heard. It feeds mainly on caterpillars, including hairy caterpillars, which it finds by sitting quietly on a perch scanning the ground and surrounding foliage. Like other cuckoos it is a brood parasite laying a single egg in another bird’s nest. While there are records of 50 different species of birds acting as its host parents, it prefers domed nests rather than cup shaped nests. Common hosts are thornbills, scrubwrens, fairy wrens and flycatchers.
The fan-tailed cuckoo feeds mainly on caterpillars but also eats moths and other insects. Like most cuckoos it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds.