Spotted Tanagers are active birds, using quick movements as they forages for fruits, berries and invertebrates (Restall et al. 2007). In Naoki's study in the Serranía Bella Vista, Bolivia, the primary foraging mode for fruit was gleaning (64%), followed by reach-out (10%) and probe (9%). Other fruit foraging modes made up less than 10% of the observations each. Arthropods were also largely taken through gleaning (49%). Other arthropod attack modes included hang-down (16%), reach-up (10%), reach-out (7%), and reach-down (7%). Arthropods were primarily searched for on leaves (83%), but flower bud searches (13%) also made up a large portion of the observations.
When they are not foraging for food, Spotted Tanagers may perch in the open at times to rest and preen (Beebe 1916, cited in Isler and Isler 1987).