The Pale-crested Woodpecker is restricted to a relatively small area within south-central South America, from eastern Bolivia to the Brazilian Pantanal, and south to Paraguay and northeast Argentina. In the past, this species was sometimes considered conspecific with the Blond-crested Woodpecker (Celeus flavescens). Like many of its congenerics, this is a highly attractive woodpecker, dark gray-brown above and below, the former pale-barred, with a pale yellow rump and head, and a broad red malar stripe in males. Pale-crested Woodpeckers occur in semi-deciduous, dry Chaco, and cerrado woodlands, but are also found in seasonally flooded gallery forests in the Pantanal. The species is generally fairly common throughout its range.