Scaled Antpitta has a wide geographic range, from southern Mexico to central Bolivia, with a disjunct population in the pantepui region of southernmost Venezuela and adjacent northern Brazil and western Guyana. Throughout its wide range, this species rarely is anything other than a very difficult bird to actually see. Up to 11 subspecies have been described, of which nine are generally recognized, which differ, sometimes dramatically, in their underparts coloration, and throat and face patterns. There is some variation as well in this antpitta's vocal repertoire across its large distribution, and further work may be needed to resolve its taxonomy. Scaled Antpitta is generally uncommon. It forages on the floor and in the understory of humid and wet foothill and montane forest, where it seems to show a particular preference for ravines, and is found at elevations between 200 and 2800 m. Like most Grallariidae it feeds primarily on arthropods.