Crescent-chested Warbler occurs in montane areas from northern Mexico south to northern Nicaragua (Howell and Webb 1995). The northernmost records are from southern Sonora (Russell and Monson 1998) and southern Chihuahua (Miller et al. 1957, Howell and Webb 1995) in northwestern Mexico, and from Nuevo León and southern Tamaulipas, in northeastern Mexico (Miller et al. 1957, Howell and Webb 1995). At the southern end of the range, it is known from only two records from Nicaragua, where it presumably is resident but rare (Martínez-Sánchez and Will 2010).
Crescent-chested Warbler is resident throughout most of its range, although some authors suggest that the northernmost populations in northwestern Mexico are migratory (Miller et al. 1957, Russell and Monson 1998). It also disperses, at least occasionally, to lower elevations (Terrill 1985).
The elevational range of Crescent-chested Warbler is 1500-3500 m (Howell and Webb 1995).
Crescent-chested Warbler has reached the United States several times as a vagrant, with a few records from southeastern Arizona, west Texas, and south Texas (Heathcote and Kaufman 1985, Dunn and Garrett 1997).