A rather shy and secretive wren that thrives in subtropical forests between 800-2000m in the Western Andes and northern section of the Central Andes. Almost an endemic to Colombia, it is also present in a small portion of eastern Panama at Cerro Tacarcuna.

Pairs stay low in dense vegetation; it is said to follow swarms of army ants in search of insects. Can be seen at the Chestnut-capped Piha Resereve (ProAves) north of Medellín.