Widespread and generally fairly common through much of the Andean chain, the Russet-crowned Warbler is found from Colombia and northwest Venezuela south to central Bolivia. Some eight subspecies are presently considered valid, and these forms two groups (white-bellied and yellow-bellied). However, ‘white-bellied’ birds are actually more gray than white below. All subspecies have olive-green upperparts, a largely gray head, with a rufous central crown stripe narrowly bordered black, and a narrow black eyestripe. The Russet-crowned Warbler is speculated to form a superspecies with the White-lored Warbler (Basileuterus conspicillatus), and was formerly treated as part of the same species with both Gray-throated Warbler (Basileuterus cinereicollis), and the White-lored Warbler.