Incredibly striking bird: adults have brilliant crimson head, black back, large white wing patches, and white belly. These large patches of solid color are unlike other woodpeckers with more intricate patterns. Immatures have brownish heads. Found in open forests with clear understories, including pine plantations and standing timber in beaver swamps. Often social, found in family groups. Regularly seen caching nuts in the fall, perched on snags, and sallying out to catch insects. Occasionally visits feeders. Nests in cavities.