Small, pale woodpecker of the Sahel. The back is pale gray with white barring, the rump is red, the underparts are heavily spotted and barred, and there is a gray mark on the cheek. Males have a red mark on the back of their head. Generally local and uncommon in dry thorn savanna and areas of semi-desert that support trees and bushes. The calls are high-pitched trills and “krit” notes, many quite similar to calls of Cardinal Woodpecker, but higher-pitched. Similar in size and shape to Brown-backed Woodpecker, but distinguished by the paler, barred back and the red rump. Also similar to Cardinal Woodpecker, but paler overall, with a dusky cheek.