Stripe-tailed Hummingbird occurs in montane areas from Mexico south to Panama. The distribution is along the Caribbean slope from southern Mexico (north to southern Veracruz) south to northern Nicaragua (Friedmann et al. 1950, Binford 1989, Howell and Webb 1995). It also occurs in Costa Rica and western Panama, where it occurs on both slopes.
Stripe-tailed Hummingbird primarily is resident, but some undertake altitudinal movements. The elevational range in Mexico is 600-1800 m, but descending to near sea level when not breeding (Howell and Webb 1995); it occurs at 1000-1800 m in Honduras but descends to 3oo m when not breeding (Monroe 1968); and in Costa Rica it occurs from 800-2000 m, with some descending to 300 m or ascending to 2450 m after breeding (Stiles and Skutch 1989).