Considered to be most closely related to the Ochre-rumped Antbird (Drymophila ochropyga), the Rufous-tailed Antbird is one of several stunningly-plumaged antbirds confined to the Atlantic Forest region. Rufous-tailed Antbird is easily separated from the principally lower-elevation Ochre-rumped Antbird by its rufous wings and tails, among other features. The rest of the plumage is largely black and white. The Rufous-tailed Antbird is endemic to southeast Brazil, where it is confined to bamboo thickets in the understory of montane evergreen forest at altitudes of 800–2200 m, and is found only in relatively small parts of the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. The species’ behavior recalls those of most other Drymophila antbirds, with the species usually being first located by its distinctive calls, and typically foraging and moving in pairs. Its feeding ecology has been well described, but most other aspects of its natural history, including breeding behavior, are very poorly known.