Screaming Pihas consume both fruit and insects; the relative proportions of fruit or insects in the diet perhaps varies seasonally (Snow 1982), but there is little direct information on this. In fact, given the relative abundance of Screaming Piha, and its wide geographic range, the diet is remarkably poorly known. Pihas have been observed to frequently visit fig trees and swallow the fruit whole (Tello 2003); pihas were one of the most regular visitors to the fruiting Ficus under observation. Other fruits in the diet include Virola spp. (Myristicaceae), Goupia (Celastraceae), and unidentified melastotomes and laurels (Snow 1982, Kirwan and Green 2011).
Insects in the diet include Orthoptera (Locustidae, Acridoidea), Lepidoptera (caterpillars), Blattaria, Phasmidae, and Mantidae (Schubart et al. 1965, Haverschmidt 1968). Whittaker (1996) observed a piha consume a 5-6 cm Anolis lizard.
Larue (1999) concludes that their energy-packed diet is adaptive, as it allows for long, undisturbed calling.
Pihas regurgitate larger fruit seeds.