The Rufous-throated Dipper Cinclus schulzi is endemic to the Southern Yungas of north-western Argentina and southern Bolivia. The species is categorised as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List on the basis of small population size and restricted range. The purpose of our study was to determine the distribution of potentially suitable habitat for the Rufous-throated Dipper, estimate its population size, and assess potential distribution within strict protected areas, in north-western Argentina. We surveyed 44 rivers in the Southern Yungas of Argentina from 2010 to 2013 to determine dipper density (i.e. the number of individuals detected per km surveyed). The dipper’s potential distribution was assessed using a maximum entropy modeling approach based on 31 occurrence points and eight bioclimatic and two topographic variables as predictors. The species is dependent on mountain forest rivers, so the potential distribution was restricted to rivers. We estimated dipper population size by multiplying density by the potential distribution along rivers. Finally, we calculated the extent of suitable habitat contained within the boundaries of Argentina´s National Parks. Dipper density was 0.94 ± 1.55 individuals/km. We estimate that within north-west Argentina there are ~2,815 km of river that are potential habitat, with an area of occupancy of 141 km2 and a population size of 2,657 ± 4,355 dippers. However, of this river extent, less than 5% is within National Parks. Our results highlight the need to create new and to enlarge existing National Parks that protect the potentially suitable habitat of the species. Although more information is needed for Bolivia, the country-level area of occupancy and population size of the dipper found in Argentina provides strong evidence that the IUCN Red List classification of this species as ‘Vulnerable’ is warranted.