The Ringed Woodpecker is principally an Amazonian species, although there is a small and presumably much-reduced population in the Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil. The Celeus woodpeckers are one of the most attractive groups of woodpeckers, and this species is indeed one of the most strikingly plumaged. The head is largely cinnamon with a red malar streak in males, the upperparts are rich brown, and the underparts are largely white, but densely and boldly marked with black chevrons, and separated from the head by a broad black breast patch. Three subspecies are generally recognized, of which the southern Amazonian and Atlantic Forest taxa are generally alike, but the Guianan Shield population is quite different in lacking any barring above, and also having an unmarked breast and belly. The Ringed Woodpecker is nearly always found in tall forest, both terra firme and in seasonally flooded areas, and is typically found in pairs.