The diet consists of various fruit and insects. Foraging for insects, usually from dead branches, requires the diagonal-lean method. Fruit eaten by the Rufous-winged Tanager include Ficus, Cecropia, and melastomes. They also favor thin, slightly upward branches less than 1.3 cm in diameter when foraging for insects (Isler and Isler 1999). Also known to eat berries (Halinan 1924).