Foraging: Golden Tanagers forage in the canopy area of montane evergreen forests (Parker et al. 1996). When foraging for food the Golden Tanager travels along mossy branches and peers underneath them (Ridgley and Tudor 1989). When foraging for fruit, the Golden Tanager may hang upside down from the petiole; it also hangs off of vines or moss in search of insects (Hilty and Brown 1986). Naoki (2003a) quantified foraging behavior of several Tangara species, including two subspecies of Golden Tanager. When foraging for arthropods, Tangara arthus sophiae almost always searched within moss (38% of observations) or partially moss-covered branches (56% of observations). The most common arthropod foraging techniques used were "hang-down" (49%),"reach-down" (31%), and glean (9%) (classification of foraging maneuvers follows Remsen and Robinson 1990). Most arthropod foraging occurred at a height of 5-10 m (54%) or under 5 m (33%). The foraging behavior of Tangara arthus goodsoni was similar. Most arthropod foraging occurred within moss (41%) or partially moss-covered branches (22%). The most common arthropod attack manuevers were "hang-down" (35%), reach down (30%), and glean (15%), and foraging typically occurred from 5-10 m (74%) or under 5 m (15%). When foraging on fruit, the most common attack manuever used by Tangara arthus sophiae was the glean (62%), typically from a height of 5-10 m (45%) or under 5 m (53%). Most of the fruit taken was Miconia. Tangara arthus goodsoni foraged for fruit in a similar manner (glean, 63%). However, this subspecies typically foraged at greater heights (5-10 m, 44%; 10-15 m, 41%) and had a more varied diet (Miconia, 51%; Trema, 12.3%; Hedyosum, 5%). Differences in fruit foraging between the two subspecies likely reflect geographic variation in fruit availability, whereas arthropod foraging behaviors appear more stereotyped within Tangara species (Naoki 2003a).
Locomotion: The Golden Tanager can move quickly from branch to branch when necessary, but is often found hopping along mossy branches when searching for food (Hilty and Brown 1986).