The Black and Gold Tanager is primarily a canopy frugivore, supplementing fruits with arthropods (Hilty 1985, Pearman 1993, Stiles 1998, Ayala 2017). They have been observed foraging on insects, by deliberately searching epiphytes, but their primary food source is fruits. They are known to consume the fruits of Ericaceae (Cavendishia and Psammisia), Marcgraviaceae (Marcgravia), Melastomataceae (Miconia and Topobaea), Clusiaceae (Clusia), berries from Rubiaceae, as well as fruit from an unidentified mistletoe (Stiles 1998, Sedano 2014). Seeds have also been reported as a diet item (Restall et al. 2006). Fledglings are occasionally fed fruit, probably including Marcgravia (Stiles 1998). They have also been observed crushing and discarding the petals of Cavendishia flowers to extract the nectar (Stiles 1998). Stomach contents of collected birds (n=8) contained 75-100% fruit and the remainder consists of insects (Stiles 1998). The foraging strata of this species is the canopy and sub-canopy (Pearman 1993, Parker et al. 1996, Stiles 1998, Cuervo et al. 2008a).