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37 cm long and weighs 255g. Similar to the Lineated Woodpecker, but is larger.
The adult is mainly black above with a pale bill, bushy crest, and white lines down the shoulders which almost meet in a V on its back. The throat is black and the rest of the underparts are white, heavily barred with black. The male has a red head and crest; the female is similar, but the crest and throat are black. The female can be distinguished from Lineated Woodpecker by the absence of a white facial stripe.
Three subspecies are recognized:
The first two are only found in Mexico.
Wet forests and adjacent second growth or semi-open woodland.
Two white eggs are laid in an unlined nest hole 3-30 m high in a tree and incubated by both sexes. The young hatch naked and are fed by both parents. It chips out holes, often quite large, while searching out insects in trees. Diet is mainly beetle larvae, with some berries or other fruit.
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