The body color is the same as the three-finger golden back woodpecker. When it is in the nature, it is difficult to classify. But the different characteristic is the Greater Flameback has bigger size than three-finger golden back woodpecker. The mouth is bigger and thicker. It has 4 fingers and there are two black lines from the mouth edge to the side of the neck and encircled with the white stripes under the eyes area. The crown and the bushy crown of the male are red. The female is black with white polka dots spreading allover.
Can be found in India, the southwest of China, Southeast Asia, Greater Sunda Islands, and Phillipines.
The food is insect and worm, and the nectar of the flower especially Erythrina subumbrans, parasite plant, and pussy willow.
Lives in the deciduous dipterocarp forest, mixed deciduous forest, dry evergreen forest, and hill evergreen forest, mangrove forest, and young forest. It normally can be found in pairs or in family. It normally makes noise all the time. Especially when it flies between the trees, it can fly very quickly and straight. It clings on the tree firstly from the lower stem and then jumps around the tree to the higher level. It lives at the height of 1,200 meters from the sea level. The Greater Flameback has the behavior which it uses its mouth to knock on the tree to make an echo sound which we can hear this knocking voice even in the far distance. During the breeding season, this noise can be heard very often. It is understand that it is an announcement of the territory and attraction of the opposite sex.
This bird breeds during summer to rainy season between March and June. Both sexes will help each other digging the hole on the tree which has the soft skin. The front of the hole is an oval or egg-shaped rather than a circle. It uses the same hole every year. Both sexes will help each other incubating the eggs and incubating the eggs together or taking turn. The egg is white and the nest has 4 to 5 eggs. The incubation period is 16 to 17 days.