Tawny-collared Nightjar is endemic to northeastern Mexico. It is distributed from central Nuevo Leona and central Tamaulipas south to Veracruz (Friedmann 1950, Howell and Webb 1995). It is largely resident, but at least some move south in the nonbreeding season, e.g. a record from December in northern Oaxaca (Binford 1989). It may be resident in northern Chiapas, however, where recorded in June (Alvarez del Toro 1954). A specimen from Nicaragua is in poor condition, and it is not clear whether this specimen refers to salvini or to Anstrostomus badius (Yucatan Nightjar) (Martínez-Sánchez and Will 2010).
Tawny-collared Nightjar is restricted to the lowlands, occurring from sea level up to 500 m (Howell and Webb 1995)