They occur naturally in forested areas with oaks in the hills of coastal areas and foothills of California and the southwestern United States south to Colombia.
This medium-sized woodpecker measures abour 21 cm in length with an average weight of 85 g. Adults have a brownish-black head, back, wings and tail, white forehead, throat, belly and rump. The eyes are white. There is a small part on the small of their backs were there are some green feathers. The adult male can be identified by the red cap on his the forehead. Females have a black area between the forehead and the cap. In the field, the white neck, throat, and forehead patches are distinctive identifiers