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A small (18cm, 7in.) woodpecker with no barring or conspicuous marks; best identification is overall dark, drab, brown plumage. Male has dark red crown, lacking in female.
Numerous and widespread in foothills and subtropical forests in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
Five subspecies are recognized: fumigatus, oleagineus, sanguinolentus, obscuratus, and reichenbachi.
Forested and woodland areas of foothills and mountains in parts of the range reaching near sea level in Mexico.
Forages on branches, rather than trunks, tapping and probing methodically in live and dead wood for insects.
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