Short-tailed Antthrush is resident in montane regions of northern and central South America. The distribution of this species is circum-Amazonian: it occurs in the coastal mountains of northern Venezuela; there is a disjunct population in the Pantepui region of southern Venezuela and adjacent Guyana; it is widespread in the Andes, primarily along the east slopes, from Venezuela south to central Bolivia; and it also occurs in the lowlands of the Atlantic Forest region in southeast Brazil and adjacent northeast Argentina and eastern Paraguay, with isolated populations in extreme northeastern Brazil (Ceará, Alagoas).
The elevational distribution of Short-tailed Antthrush varies throughout its wide geographic range: from 400-1850 m, but mostly below 1500 m, in Venezuela (Hilty 2oo3); 400-1800 m in Colombia (Hilty and Brown 1986); from 950-1700 m in Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a); 900–1700 m in Peru (Schulenberg et al. 2010); 800-2800 m in Bolivia (Hennessey et al. 2003), and from the lowlands up to 800-1000 m in eastern Brazil (Willis 1992).