The Southern Screamer occurs from Bolivia south to northern Argentina, and east to Mato Grosso and Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Vagrant to southeastern Peru (Parker 1982, Servat and Pearson 1991).
The species is thought to be non-migratory. In Rio Grande do Sul, however, ground and aerial surveys showed seasonal fluctuations in numbers, with populations in coastal areas decreasing at times of year (July-November) when numbers were highest at inland locations, suggesting local movements (Fontana et al. 1994).