The Black-and-gold Tanager is endemic to west Colombia, along the Pacific slope of the Western Andes in southern Chochó and northwestern Riseralda, and in the northern end of the Central Andes in eastern Antioquia (Meyer de Schauensee 1951, María and Olivares 1978, Hilty 1985, Hilty and Brown 1986, Parker et al. 1996, Cuervo et al. 2008b, Ridgely and Tudor 2009, Clements et al. 2018). In total it is known from about 25 localities (Graham et al. 2010). It is found in the Northern Andes Zoogeographic Region and is an element of the Northern Andean Center of Endemism (Cracraft 1986, Parker et al. 1996). More specifically, this species is known from two disjunct areas. One of these areas is on the northern and western slope of the Central Andes in the Antioquia Department. This population went 51 years without an observation until it was rediscovered in 1999 on the east side of the Nechí Valley (Restall et al. 2006, Cuervo et al. 2008a). Subsequently it has been found at other areas in the Central Andes and is common at Reserva La Serrana (Restall et al. 2006). This northern disjunct range extends to the northwest end of the Central Andes in Yuramal near La Frijolera and Las Ventanas above Valdivia. The second disjunct range is along the Pacific slope of the West Andes including the Chocó, Risaralda, and Valle del Cuaca Departments, including Cerro Tatamá near the headwaters of the Río San Juan (Isler and Isler 1987, Restall et al. 2006, Hilty 2011). This species is one of only two avian species, along with Multicolored Tanager (Chlorochrysa nitidissima), that are Andean endemics reliant on humid montane forests with disjunct distributions separated by the Río Cauca Valley (Voss et al. 2002).
This species has a Middle Montane center of abundance, found within 950-2450 m elevation (Meyer de Schauensee 1951, Parker et al. 1996, Isler and Isler 1987, Restall et al. 2006, Ridgely and Tudor 2009, Aköz 2013, Ocampo-Peñuela 2016, Ayala 2017). Normally it is seen between 1200-2200 m (Ridgely an Tudor 1989, Restall et al. 2006, Cuervo et al. 2008a, Ramirez Mosquera 2017). Most recent records have recorded it from 1400-1750 m (Hilty 2011). It was fairly common from 1100-1400 m at the northern end of the Western Andes in the Serranía de Abibe (Olaciregui et al. 2016). During the breeding season this species may have a more confined distribution, occurring at elevations lower than 1650 m (Stiles 1998).