The Red-cockaded Woodpecker is about the size of a Northern Cardinal. Its back is barred with black and white horizontal stripes and it has a black cap and nape that encircle large white cheek patches.
Rarely visible, except during the breeding season and periods of territorial defense, the male has a small red streak on each side of its black cap called a 'cockade', hence its name.
Historically, the RCW's range extended in the southeastern United States from Florida to New Jersey and Maryland, as far west as eastern Texas and Oklahoma, and inland to Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Today it is estimated that there are about 5,000 groups of red-cockaded woodpeckers, or 12,500 birds, from Florida to Virginia and west to southeast Oklahoma and eastern Texas, representing only about 1% of the woodpecker's original population.