The White-whiskered Puffbird inhabits humid evergreen forests and shady forest edges from southeastern Mexico to Ecuador. Unlike most other species of puffbird, the White-whiskered shows noticeable differences in plumage between the sexes with males showing strong rufous tones to the face and chest. Like other puffbirds, its habit of perching quietly for long periods in the understory or mid levels of the forest makes it easy to overlook. It may seem as if the bird is simply resting, but the perception of inactivity is only a guise. Puffbirds sally out to catch insects, spiders, frogs or lizards then return to a perch where they beat their prey against a perch before swallowing them. White-whiskered Puffbirds sometimes attend army ant swarms or join mixed flocks.