Violet-bellied Hummingbird is resident in the lowlands from central Panama to northern Colombia, western Ecuador, and extreme northwestern Peru. The distribution extends west of northern Coclé and western Panama provinces in central Panama, and extends east to Darién (Wetmore 1968, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). (Specimens reported from "Costa Rica" are in error; Slud 1964, Wetmore 1968).
In Colombia the distribution extends from the Panama border east to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and to the Magdalena Valley, but does not extend far down the Pacific slope (Meyer de Schauensee 1949, Hilty and Brown 1986). Violet-bellied Hummingbird is widespread in western Ecuador, and enters extreme northwestern Peru in Tumbes (Wiedenfeld et al. 1985, Parker et al. 1995, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a, Walker 2002).
Violet-bellied Hummingbird generally is resident, although some populations may have seasonal movements; Ridgely and Gwynne (1989), for example, suggest that it may be absent from the Pacific slope of Panama during the dry season.
The elevational range of Violet-bellied Hummingbird extends from the lowlands up to 1750 m in the Magdalena Valley in Colombia, although elsewhere in Colombia it occurs only up to 600 m (Hilty and Brown 1986); and it occurs up to 1100 m in southwestern Ecuador (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a).