The Brown Tanager is found in montane forest of south-east Brazil from south Bahia to north Santa Catarina and an isolated population in central Minas Gerais (BirdLife International 2015). Diniz et al. (2012) considers the existence of the Minas Gerais population to be questionable because during their study they did not find voucher specimens from this region. Naka et al. (2000) noted a very slight range extension of 40 km southward in the Santa Catarina area. The Brown Tanager is only in the mountains of Espirito Santo and Rio de Janeiro and a portion of the population migrates north to South Bahia during the winter (Sick 1993, Hilty 2011). The Brown Tanager occurs mostly at 800-1600 m elevation, though it has been noted as low as 750 m (Legal and Kohler 2008, Ridgely and Tudor 2009). The center of elevational abundance is in the upper tropical zone (Parker et al. 1996). This species occurs in the Atlantic Forest Zoogeographic Region (Parker et al. 1996).