The Pale-billed Woodpecker primarily forages on the trunks of large trees and on the larger limbs. Most foraging is in the mid and upper stories of forest, although sometimes they forage closer to the ground, on low stumps and on logs (Slud 1964, Short 1982, Winkler and Christie 2002). This woodpecker excavates decaying wood for food, and also forages by using the bill to scale bark off of dead wood.
Pale-billed Woodpeckers roost solitarily in large cavities, similar to the holes used for nesting (Skutch 1969). The same roost cavity may be used for periods of at least several months (Skutch 1969).