The Red-necked Tanager occurs mostly in Brazil, in two disjunct areas. One population is found in highland forests of Ceará. Otherwise, the species is found from the northeastern coastal region of Brazil south to Rio Grande do Sul. The distribution extends south to northeastern Argentina and eastern Paraguay (Isler and Isler 1987, Ridgely and Tudor 1989). The center of elevational abundance is in the lower tropical zone (Parker et al. 1996). The species occurs from the lowlands and foothills to around 1000 m (Isler and Isler 1987, Parker et al. 1996), mostly concentrated between 400–1000 m (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, van Perlo 2009).