The range of the Ruddy Ground-Dove extends from central Mexico south through Central America south to northwestern Colombia and, east of the Andes, south to northern Argentina (Skutch 1956). The species is found from sea level to as high as 2600 m (8500 ft) in Colombia (Baptista et al. 1997). In Costa Rica it occurs from sea level to 1400 m (4600 ft), in Peru up to 800 m, and up to 500 m in Ecuador (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, Schulenberg et al. 2007). This species is resident and breeds year-round and thus does not have a separate nonbreeding range.
This species is thought to be resident throughout much of its range. Occasional sightings in the southwestern United States, Uruguay, and central Chile hint that some populations may be migratory (Baptista et al. 1997). Individual records of this species are regularly noted in the southwestern United States (Baptista et al. 1997). Birds also occasionally show up in southern Florida (Sibley 2001a).
Its distributional range has been calculated to be approximately 15 million km2 (BirdLife International 2011).