Marginally smaller than Great Spotted Woodpecker, but rounded head and shortish beak exaggerate this size difference. Both sexes are similar, with a red crown (brighter in the male) and an incomplete cheek bar. It has a rattle call: "kíg-gag-gag-gag-gag" and gives a nasal long-drawn series of “gwaaag” calls. Rarely drums. Closely tied to old deciduous forests with oaks where it nests in tree cavities.