The IUCN Red List (BirdLife International) categorizes the conservation status of this tanager as of Least Concern, due to its large range, large population size, and stable population trend. Stotz et al. (1996) assessed its conservation priority as Low.
Effects of human activity on populations
Human practices, such as farming, may be decreasing the quality of habitat for the Gray-headed Tanager. The species has been observed in agricultural fields adjacent to a forest edge; however it tends not to remain there for long. Luck and Daily (2003) examined the ability of agricultural landscapes in Costa Rica to provide resources for avian frugivores such as the Gray-headed Tanager. They found that if an agricultural landscape contains isolated Miconia trees, then in can be a good resource for avian frugivores. These avian frugivores play an important role in tropical ecosystems as seed dispersers. Additionally, deforestation of areas that support army ants has a negative effect on the Gray-headed Tanager (Boinski and Scott 1988). For example Roberts et al. (2000) found that transformation of coffee-growing practices in Panama will have a negative impact on army ants and their associated avian followers like the Gray-headed Tanager.