It ranges across the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, primarily the lower-to-middle altitudes of the Himalayas. It is found in Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bhutan.
Its natural habitats are temperate forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.
A medium-sized, pied woodpecker with yellow in crown. White-barred (rather than spotted) black. Underparts, prominent black moustache extending to breast and black-streaked white underparts. Vent deep pink. In male forecrown brown, centre yellow, rear red with black rear neck.