This quail-dove’s wide circum-Amazonian distribution encompasses Nicaragua south to northeast and southeast Colombia, Guyana, Suriname and discontinuously through eastern Brazil to southeast Paraguay and northeast Argentina, and northern and eastern Bolivia. The species is found to at least 1650 m, usually in primary evergreen forest, but also in tall second growth and even plantations. Everywhere it seems uncommon and rather local, especially in the north of the species’ range. Over the greater part of its range the only sympatric quail-dove is the much commoner Ruddy Quail-Dove (Geotrygon montana), which is easily separated from the Violaceous Quail-Dove by its much browner head and underparts, as well as broad pale stripe over the ear coverts, and by its slightly larger size. The Violaceous Quail-Dove is rather more arboreal than many Geotrygon species, although it regularly descends to the ground to feed on fallen fruits and probably on small invertebrates. However, most aspects of the species’ ecology are still rather poorly known.