Northern Emerald-Toucanet has a varied diet, eating a wide variety of fruits as well as terrestrial invertebrates and small vertebrates. At one well studied site (Monteverde, Costa Rica), 113 species of plants are reported from the diet (Wheelwright et al. 1984, Riley and Smith 1986). At Monteverde, Costa Rica, emerald-toucanets consumed more species of berries than of any other type of fruit (Riley and Smith 1992; see also Wagner 1944). Rarely, Northern Emerald-Toucanet also consumes flowers of trees (Erythrina, Saurauia) and ephiphytes (Mcclenia) (Riley and Smith 1986).
Northern Emerald-Toucanet also eats a wide range of invertebrates, such as spiders, centipedes, orthopterans, homopterans, beetles (Coleoptera), lepidopterans, flies (Diptera), and hymenopterans, although arthropods primarily are fed to nestlings rather than consumed by adults (Riley and Smith 1992). Vertebrate prey includes nestling birds and eggs, as well as small lizards and snakes.