Small stout woodpecker with an oversized crested head and black-and-white scaling on the back. Males have a brilliant red front to the crest that females lack. Agile and active, frequently foraging in the upper canopy or on exposed snags. Crawls along trunks, sometimes descending headfirst like a nuthatch. Found in lowland and hill forests. Gives high-pitched squeaks, descending “peer” notes, and rattles.