Cinnamon Tanager is found primarily in Brazil, south of Amazonia (Lopes and Gonzaga 2014). It is found as far north as the southern tip of Pará, across central Maranhão and southwest Piauí, to the eastern tip of Pernambuco. Its range extends as far south as eastern Paraná and São Paulo, and in;and to the northeastern tip of Mato Grosso and southern Goiás (Isler and Isler 1987). The species appears to occur over a wider area of Brazil than previously appreciated (see the map in Lopes and Gonzaga 2014). Recent tange extensions ranging from 300-900 km were found for the states of Pará, Tocantins, Mato Grosso, and Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil (Lopes and Gonzaga 2014); a range extension of 180 km to northeast Pará was reported (Lees et al 2014); and there are recent records of Schistochlamys ruficapillus ruficapillus in Paraguay (Zapata 2002) as well as in Argentina (Chebez 1996, cited in Lopes and Gonzaga 2014).
This species is found at elevations ranging from sea level to 1000 m or higher (Isler and Isler 1987), up to 2,350 m (Lopes and Gonzaga 2014). The center of elevational abundance is in the lower tropical zone and this species occurs in the Central South America and Atlantic Forest zoogeographic regions. (Parker et al. 1996).