Small woodpecker with a green back and a finely speckled face without strong markings. The crown is entirely red in males and red-and-black in females. There is striking geographical variation. In most of East Africa, the underparts are spotted, while in the western two-thirds of the range, the underparts are barred. Found in forest, edge habitat and clearings, and lush woodland. Generally uncommon and inconspicuous. The call is an arresting “ka-reek,” sometimes repeated several times. Spotted birds are separated from other woodpeckers by their lack of strong facial markings. Barred birds are distinctive within their range.