The Ocellated Piculet is resident in humid montane forests in Peru (jelskii) from the Divisoria, at the Ucayali/Huánuco border, south to the Urubamba valley in Cuzco (Chapman 1921, Traylor 1958, Walker 2005, Schulenberg et al. 2007). The nominate subspecies (dorbignyanus) occurs from La Paz south to Chuquisaca and Tarija in Bolivia (Bond and Meyer de Schauensee 1943, Hennessey et al. 2003), and in northwestern Argentina in Jujuy and Salta (Olrog 1958, Mazar Barnett and Pearman 2001).
The elevational range of the Ocellated Piculet in Peru is 800–2400 m (Lane and Pequeño 2004, Schulenberg et al. 2007). The elevational range in Bolivia is broader, from 900-33oo m (Hennessey et al. 2003).