Small and unique black-and-cream woodpecker with an oversized crested head and short tail. Male has a dark forehead, whereas female has a white one. Namesake spots are on the wing coverts and can be difficult to make out unless seen well. Listen for its twangy “cheeYEWW” as well as high-pitched “chee” and “chi’lee” calls. Encountered in lowland and foothill forests; favors dense wet areas with bamboo and teak, but can also be found in drier forests.