The Cardinal Woodpecker is a common bird in South Africa. It is widely distributed and can be found in suitable habitat over most of the country but it does not occur in arid areas.á
It can be found in woodlands, savanna, parks and gardens.
Cardinal Woodpeckers predominantly feed on beetles and their larvae which they find by digging into the bark of trees with their bills. They also feed on other larvae, spiders and ants. Occasionally they will eat some fruit or seeds.
Males are easily identified from females as they have some red on their crowns. The female lacks any red colouration on her head.
The favourite nesting spot for Cardinal Woodpeckers is a hole underneath the branch of a tree. Here they lay up to 3 eggs and they are cared for by both parents.