Endemic to northeast Brazil, the Tawny Piculet is currently listed as globally Near Threatened by BirdLife International. Among piculets, it is rather distinctively plumaged having rich fulvous-brown underparts, with faint pale streaks over the breast, brown upperparts, and a black crown, spotted with white, whilst males are further distinguished by their red forecrown. Fortunately, this species is able to tolerate a degree of habitat degradation and disturbance, like most congenerics, making its conservation status considerably more favorable than several other northeast Brazilian endemics. Its range covers parts of the states of Alagoas, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Ceará, and eastern Piauí, and the Tawny Piculet has also recently been discovered in Sergipe, south of the Rio São Francisco. Throughout this region it favors deciduous and semi-deciduous woodland, and second growth, below 1000 m.