Sand-colored Nighthawk occurs in the Amazon basin, from eastern Colombia south to northern Bolivia, and east to southern Venezuela and central Brazil. This species is often is considered to be resident, but it undertakes some movements during periods of high water (Hilty 2003). For example, near Leticia, southeastern Colombia, it is present only from mid July to late September (J.V. Remsen, in Hilty and Brown 1986); and in southeastern Peru it arrives in April to May (end of local wet season), and departs in September to November (at the onset of the wet season) (Groom 1992). Little is known, however, about the scale or periodicity of these movements.
Sand-colored Nighthawk is confined to the lowlands, and is restricted to elevations below 400-500 m (Hilty and Brown 1986, Hennessey et al. 2003, Hilty 2003, Walker et al. 2006).