The Mottled Piculet’s most unusual characteristic is its range; this species is largely restricted the southern panhandle of Brazil and much of Uruguay, and only slips in to portions of adjacent Argentina and Paraguay. Few if any species show such a distribution. It is a typical piculet in size, shape and behavior, although it is more evenly plumaged, lacking the scaly or barred underparts of many in the genus. Instead it is pale buffy-brown on the breast with a lighter throat and streaked on the flanks. Both sexes have a black crown with spots, although in males it is partly hidden by a red forecrown patch. The Mottled Piculet takes riparian woodland and forest edges; it is seldom common, having a low density throughout its range.