Black-capped Tanagers occur in montane areas of northwestern South America. The range includes the Sierra de Períja (on the border between Colombia and Venezuela), the Santa Marta mountains in northern Colombia, and the coastal and Andean ranges in Venezuela, south through the three Andean ranges in Colombia to the Pacific and eastern slopes of Ecuador (Isler and Isler 1987, Stotz et al. 1996, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). The elevational range extends between 1000-2700 m but in the Andes is centered on 1500-2200 m (Isler and Isler 1987); Black-capped Tanagers occur at lower elevations in the Santa Marta mountains of northern Colombia and in the coastal mountain ranges of Venezuela, from Distrito Federal and northern Guárico (Hilty 2003).
Distribution outside the Americas
Endemic to the Americas.
The Black-capped Tanager generally occurs at the edges of humid and cloud forests and in mature second-growth forest, as well as within trees and shrubs in clearings, pastures, and open woodland (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Ridgley and Greenfield 2001, Restall et al. 2007). This species can be encountered low in shrubs to high at the crowns of fruiting trees, but most often in the medium to upper strata (Isler and Isler 1987, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990).
The first sighting of the Black-capped Tanager from the west slope of the Andes in Ecuador happened very recently (1980), and, since then, there have been several sightings, predominantly in the Tandayapa/Nanegal region of Pinchincha, Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). The fact that this species was never collected in this region prior to this time despite rigorous surveying in the 19th and 20th centuries is an indication of recent colonization, most likely in response to clearing in the area (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001), as this species is often associated with both natural and manmade clearings (Isler and Isler 1987).
Emata, K. and K. J. Burns (2011). Black-capped Tanager (Tangara heinei), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.blctan1.01