Golden-tailed Woodpeckers are common in suitable habitat in sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa they are found in the northern and eastern parts of the country.
They can be found in woodland as well as parks and gardens that have sufficient trees. They can often be heard giving their loud call or tapping away on a branch looking for insects.
The bulk of their diet consists of ants and termites as well as millipedes and the larvae of Mopane Emperor Moth.
Golden-tailed Woodpeckers excavate a cavity for their nest. The nest is used for a couple of years and is normally placed on the underside of a branch. Two or three eggs are laid and both parents tend to the eggs and chicks.