The Smoky-brown Woodpecker is a small, dull brown woodpecker found in a variety of wooded habitats across its large range. In the Andean region it is restricted to higher elevations, but it is more broadly distributed in southern Mexico and Central America. It often occurs in pairs, and frequently forages with mixed-species flocks. It forages for wood-boring arthropods at all levels, but particularly in lower and middle strata. Both sexes excavate the nest cavity in a trunk or limb of a tree.