The Rufous-capped Antshrike has an interesting distribution. The nominate subspecies is widespread in eastern South America, where it primarily occurs at low and middle elevations. There also are four subspecies in the Andes, most of which occur between southern Peru and northwestern Argentina. Both sexes, in all populations have rufous crown. Males narrowly are barred white and black on the breast and belly, with reddish brown wings; the rest of the plumage usually is light brown or light gray. The underparts of the female have little or no barring, and usually are whitish or buff. Rufous-capped Antshrikes forage singly or in pairs at the edge of humid forest, in second growth, and in dense scrub, but the biology of this species is not well known.