The Black-crowned Tityra is very widely distributed over much of Middle America and the northern two-thirds of South America east of the Andes. It is the only Tityra that lacks any red on the face and bill in males, whilst in contrast females can show the largest amount of red on the face of any of the three species in this genus. Males generally have the crown and tail both entirely black, although some subspecies may show a white tip to the tail. Some authors have considered the so-called White-tailed Tityra (Tityra leucura), described from south-central Amazonian Brazil in the mid-19th century, to be nothing more than an abnormal subadult of the present species, although evidence from a recent field observation, the first since the type specimen was collected, suggests that this hypothesis might need re-evaluation. Tityras were long placed in the Tyrannidae, but have recently been transferred to their own family, along with the becards (Pachyramphus), and assorted other species that were formerly placed in the Cotingidae.