A relatively large woodpecker with a black back, a white patch on the shoulders, and white spots on the flight feathers. A distinctive black stripe runs around the ears to the base of the bill. The top of the male’s head is red, while the female’s is black. Usually solitary or in pairs, searching for invertebrates along the trunks of trees in oak, pine, and mixed forests. Calls include metallic grating notes, a single-noted “chuck,” and short, rapid rolls of drumming.