Distribution in the Americas
The Rufous Twistwing is known from the southwestern Amazon in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil (Lane et al. 2007, Tobias et al. 2008). It has been recorded between 250-380 m a.s.l. (Lane et al. 2007, Tobias et al. 2008), though it may perhaps occur in a wider elevation range below 500 m a.s.l. in suitable habitat. Currently known locations provide an estimated range of ca 89,000 km2, but the total habitat area in this region may be larger, between 121,000-180,000 km2 (Nelson 1994, Saatchi et al. 2000). Peruvian locations include: Nuevo Mundo, Kirigueti, and Las Malvinas along the Río Urubamba near Camisea (Dpto. Madre de Dios), Timpía (Dpto. Cuzco), Montetoni (Dpto. Cuzco), along the Río Manu at Manu Lodge, Pakitza and at Playa Bonita near Cocha Cashu (Depto. Madre de Dios), Tambopata (Dpto. Madre de Dios), and Oceanía along the Río Tahuamanu (Dpto. Madre de Dios). Bolivian locations include: Extrema (Dpto. Pando). Brazilian locations include: Estação Ecológica do Rio Acre (Acre), Ramal Jarinal (Acre), and Rio Branco (Acre).
Distribution outside the Americas
Unreported outside the Americas.
Inhabits the dense understory of lowland Amazonia forest that are dominated by Guadua bamboo. The Rufous Twstwing was also observed within secondary forest near extensive Guadua bamboo thickets at Extrema, Montetoni, and Timpía, with a single observation from dense secondary forest at Timpía lacking bamboo. It inhabits bamboo stands within floodplain and terra firme forests, but may be scarcer in floodplain bamboo stands (Lane et al. 2007). The Rufous Twistwing is considered a bamboo specialist sensu Kratter (1997) according to Lane et al. (2007), Lebbin (2007), and Tobias et al. (2008). Of 44 encounters with Rufous Twistwing reported by Tobias et al. (2008), 43 were within or immediately adjacent to stands of Guadua bamboo (Guadua weberbaueri, Guadua sarcocarpa). Bamboo canopy height varied from 2-5 m where few trees occurred for support, and 10-25 m where scattered trees provided more support for bamboo culms.
The Rufous Twistwing is apparently absent or scarce from areas of suitable habitat within its range, including CICRA at Los Amigos, Dpto. Madre de Dios, Peru (Lebbin 2007, Tobias et al. 2008).