Endemic to a small region, between the lower Rio Madeira east to around the towns of Óbidos and Santarém, in central Amazonian Brazil, the Varzea Piculet is confined to seasonally flooded forests along both banks of the Amazon River, including on river islands. The Varzea Piculet is reported to hybridize occasionally with the White-barred Piculet (Picumnus cirratus) in the region of the lower Rio Tapajós, but details of this are still scant. It is an extremely poorly known species, and nothing has been published to date concerning its life history, although this is not suspected to differ dramatically from other Neotropical piculets. Compared to the White-barred Piculet, which might occasionally be found on the edges of the same habitat, the Varzea Piculet should be immediately recognized by virtue of its usually having the underparts and face dark brown with white tips, although the pattern is considered to be rather variable. Males possess a striking red forecrown, whereas the cap is entirely black in females.