Forages from approximately three m above ground to the canopy (Isler and Isler 1999), but primarily forages in the canopy (Parker et al. 1996). Behavior is known to resemble that of the Bay-headed Tanager (Tangara gyrola) (Ridgley and Greenfield 2001). The Rufous-winged Tanager is more active and noisier when foraging, however (Restall et al. 2007).
Social and interspecific behavior
The Rufous-winged tanager forages solitarily, in pairs, or in small groups (Isler and Isler 1999). In addition, the small groups or pairs are sometimes within a larger group of mixed-flocked species, including various tanagers, warblers, and other small birds with similar foraging behavior (Slud 1964). In Costa Rica, Rufous-winged Tanagers actively forageg at all elevations in small groups or pairs (Slud 1964).