Brown-backed Antwren is restricted to the lowlands (150-300 m elevation) of eastern Ecuador south of the Rio Napo and adjacent northeastern Peru north of the Amazon and west of the upper Napo river (Krabbe et al. 1999, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a, Schulenberg et al. 2007). Year-round resident, no reports of migratory movements.
Distribution outside the Americas
Brown-backed Antwren is endemic to South America.
Brown-backed Antwren inhabits undergrowth of terra firme rainforest, especially tangled areas or near streams (English 1998, Krabbe et al. 1999, Ridgley and Greenfield 2001b). In the middle Rio Tigre in Peru, reported in closed-canopy forest with a large understory component of palms (Krabbe et al. 1999).