Diet: The main food is small insects, berries and some plant material, and possibly bamboo stalk (Remsen 1985, Hilty and Brown 1986, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). Hilty et al. (1979) report the stomach contents for three individuals: one had insect remains, another had "vegetable matter", and the third contained small bits of bamboo.
Microhabitat for foraging: Chusquea bamboo. They have also been observed foraging in tall grass or shrubs, but rarely far from bamboo (Hilty et al. 1979).
Food capture and consumption: The Plushcap looks for insects by probing and pushing its bill into the stems and leaf nodes of the bamboo and prying them open (Hilty et al. 1979, Remsen 1985, Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). They also forage by running their bill along the stems of bamboo with a series of tiny biting motions (Hilty et al. 1979).