Red Warbler is endemic to the highlands of western and southern Mexico, north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Three disjunct populations are known: from southwestern Chihuahua south to northern Nayarit; from southern Jalisco and Michoacán east to western Veracruz and northern Oaxaca; and in southern Mexico in Guerrero and southern Oaxaca (Miller et al. 1957, Howell and Webb 1995).
The elevational range of Red Warbler is 1800-3500 m (Howell and Webb 1995). It usually is described as resident, but Moore (1937) suggested that, in northwestern Mexico, records from below 3000 m were indicative of elevational migration, and Schaldach (1963) similarly reported seasonal movements to lower elevations in the nonbreeding season in Colima.