Stiles and Skutch (1989: 231) describe the distribution as follows:
“scarce to locally common resident at ca. 3000-7000ft (900-2100m) on Pacific slope from Cordillera de Tilarán (Monteverde, where possibly only a vagrant) S along slopes of Crodillera Central overlooking Valle Central, and along Cordillera de Talamanca to Panama; extends on to Caribbean slope in Cartago-Paraíso area and upper Reventazón valley; strays occasionally to Caribbean slope of Cordillera Central (e.g., Montaña Azul, Virgen del Socorro). After breeding some may ascend to 8000ft (2450m) as on Volcán Poás."
In Panama, Wetmore (1968: 377-378) reports it is found "on the Pacific slope of the great volcano of western Chiriqui from 1,250 to 1,900 meters, ranging in lesser number to 2,500 and 3,000 meters; Cerro Pando. On the western side of Volcán Barú this species ranges over Cerro Pando, and above Cerro Punta; on the east it is common from Boquete to Quiel and Cerro Copete."
Evidence since the publication of Feinsinger (1977) and Stiles and Skutch (1989) suggests the Scintillant is regular (if uncommon) at Monteverde (Fogden and Fogden 2006), and that non-breeding individuals may ascend as high as 2600 m in Cerro de la Muerte (Clark et al. 2011).