The Red-necked Woodpecker is resident in northern South America, from eastern Colombia to Venezuela and the Guinanas and through the Amazonian basin to Northern Bolivia and Peru, east of the Andes. It is the commonest large woodpecker within its range. (Winkler et al. 1995: 347).
This species primarily inhabits the lowlands, ranging usually up to 600 m. Locally, altitudinal range may be significantly higher, for example, rarely up to 1219 m in elevation at Mount Roraima, Venzuela (Short 1982) and up to 1800 m in southern Venezuela and northwest Brazil and even up to 2400 m in La Paz, Bolivia (Winkler et al. 1995: 347).
Distribution outside the Americas
This species is not found outside the Americas.
This species inhabits rain forest, terra firme and várzea forests.
It tends to avoid open or cut-over areas (Short 1982) and is found in cloud forest, forest edge, light second growth and riverine woodland in savanna regions (Winkler et al. 1995:347). It is also noted as being fairly numerous in sandy-belt woodlands of northeastern Guiana (Hilty and Brown 1986). In Tocantins state, in Brazilian eastern Amazonia, Red-necked Woodpecker is found exclusively in tall rainforest patches whereas Crimson-crested and Lineated Woodpecker are common in adjacent cerrado savanna woodlands (Pinheiro and Dornas 2009). Individuals or loosely associated pairs forage mainly on large trees within forest interior (Schulenberg 2007).
None reported, although it is probable that formerly forested areas that have been substantially deforested and cut-over within its overall range no longer provide suitable habitat for this forest dwelling species.