The Red-cowled Cardinal is endemic to northeastern Brazil and can be readily found in the Northeastern states of the country—Pará, Maranhão, Ceará, Bahia and Sergripe (Oren 1982, Ridgely & Tudor 1989, Silva & Oren 1990, Jaramillo 2011, Regueira & Bernard 2012, Burns et al. 2014). The Red-cowled Cardinal is mostly found in the northeastern region of Brazil known as the Caatinga as well as the islands right off the nearby coast (Oren 1982, Sick 1993, Parker et al. 1996, Alves et al. 2010). However, over the years there have been a couple sightings of this tanager as far south as Quissamã—a city in Rio de Janeiro (Southeastern Brazil) and the southern state of Brazil—Minas Gerais (Mitchell 1957, Frisch 1981, Wheatley 1995, Parrini et al. 1999, Regueira & Bernard 2012, Tavares & Siciliano 2014). These sightings are speculated to be the result birds escaping from the underground bird trade and the bird fight circles of Brazil (Mitchell 1957, Silva & Oren 1990). This tanager is mostly found at low elevations—anywhere from 0 m to 1200 m—and has a center of elevation abundance within the lower tropical zone (Parker et al. 1996). It is found in the zoogeographic region of Central South America (Parker et al. 1996). This tanager does not display any migratory behaviors.