The White-necked Puffbird is one of the largest, and most widespread members of the puffbird family, and frequents the forest canopy from southern Mexico south through Amazonia. Populations in the Guianan Shield region have recently been elevated to species rank and called Guianan Puffbird (Notharchus macrorhynchos), while birds found in the Atlantic forest of Brazil and Argentina are now also considered a separate species the Buff-bellied Puffbird (Notharchus swainsoni). In spite of its striking black and white plumage, the White-necked Puffbird is more frequently heard than seen. It has a habit of perching high in the tops of trees, where it often seeks out exposed dead branches, and is difficult to spot from the forest floor. It is seen most frequently from canopy towers or walkways. It also occurs in both gallery forest or more arid, such as in northwestern Costa Rica, where it is easier to see from the ground. With its massive bill, it feeds on large insects, frogs, and lizards. Unlikely to be confused with any other puffbird, except perhaps the Pied Puffbird (Notharchus tectus), which is also black and white, is found in the canopy, but is considerably smaller.