Primarily forages in the midstory and canopy, although occasionally descends to the ground. Takes food with reaches and gleans, from a perch.
The flight of Northern Emerald-Toucanet is direct, with rapid, buzzy wingbeats, and often ends with a short glide (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Frequently cocks the tail, or leans forward and stretches the neck as it peers about (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Wagner (1944) observed Northern Emerald-Toucanets roosting in cavities in trees in Mexico, but using different cavities for roosting than for breeding. Roost cavities typically have entrances that are more or less exposed, whereas the entrances to nest cavities are very well concealed (Wagner 1944). Skutch (1944) was unable to confirm cavity roosting in Costa Rica, and suspected that they roost among foliage.
There is no information on territoriality or home range size for Northern Emerald-Toucanet.
During courtship and copulation the partners can feed each other.
Social and interspecific behavior
Northern Emerald-Toucanet is gregarious, and frequently is encountered in groups of 3-10 individuals .
Predators probably include a wide variety of bird-eating raptors, but observations are few; confirmed predators on Northern Emerald-Toucanet include Bicolored Hawk (Accipiter bicolor), Ornate-Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus ornatus), Barred Forest-Falcon (Micrastur ruficollis), Collared Forest-Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus), and Orange-breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus) (Thorstrom 2012a, Thorstrom 2012b, Thorstrom 2012c, Whitacre et al. 2012, Baker et al. 2012). Reported predators of nests are Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata) (Wagner 1944) and White-throated Capuchin Monkey (Cebus capucinus) (Short and Horne 2001).