The Hooded Tanager is widely distributed in open woodlands, second growth, and forest edge. It usually is encountered in pairs or in small flocks (family groups?); they sometimes associate with other species, but often forage apart from other species. Despite its small size and warbler-like behavior, research suggests that this is a true tanager. Even more surprisingly, the closest relatives of the Hooded Tanager could be much larger species, such as the White-capped Tanager (Sericossypha albocristata).