White-banded Tanagers generally live in groups of 5-12 (usually about 7), traveling with mixed-species flocks (Isler and Isler 1987). Groups are smaller during breeding season (Isler and Isler 1987). They typically forage by hopping on the ground, in grasses, and in herbaceous vegetation (Hilty 2011). They forage quickly through woody vegetation by picking insects from leaves, branches, and trunks reminscent of Tachyphonus tanagers (Isler and Isler 1987, Hilty 2011). White-banded Tanager also has been observed following fires through cerrado to capture insects from the ground (Hilty 2011). When a group descends to the ground to feed, a flockmate perches as a sentinel in higher vegetation to alert the group of possible dangers (Isler and Isler 1987, Hilty 2011). Sentinels are known to alternate, with two individuals sometimes showing vigilance at the same time (Albes 1990). Further, the intensity of sentinel behavior has been found to be significantly lower when in mixed-species flocks compared to conspecific groups (Alves and Cavalcanti 1996). The call volume and frequency of a sentinel increases as a sentinel changes its perch, which is apparently a clue, for then another sentinel takes its place or the group moves elsewhere (Alves 1990).
Territories of White-banded Tanager are defended by all individuals of a group, including nonbreeding helpers (Alves 1990, Duca and Marini 2014a). Some territories have overlapping areas in which groups are only able to forage for a short time before being detected by the neighboring group (Duca and Marini 2014a). All individuals defend the territory by intensely vocalizing and repeatedly flying from one perch to another, and physical aggression is rare (Duca and Marini 2014a). During dispersal events, males tend to stay in the same territory while females disperse distances that are equal to one territory in length (Duca and Marini 2014a). White-banded Tanagers adjust territory size based on group size (Duca and Marini 2014b).
One observation of a copulation involved a female with nest material in her beak while perched on a tree limb; a male approached from the rear, mounted, and completed copulation within a few seconds (Alves 1990). Pairs are reported to be monogamous (Alves 1990).
Social and interspecific behavior
White-banded Tanager is found generally in groups of 5-12 (ca 7) individuals, and these intraspecific flocks often accompany mixed-species flocks (Isler and Isler 1987, Alves 1990, Hilty 2011). They are reported as central or nuclear species in these flocks (Silva 1980, Alves 1990). They have been recorded in 85.3% of mixed-species flocks in a Brazilian savanna, with the frequency of these flocks lower in the rainy breeding season (72.1%), and higher in the dry season (94.9% of flocks) when birds are not breeding (Alves and Cavalcanti 1996). Frequent members of these mixed species flocks include Narrow-billed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes angustirostris), Grassland Sparrow (Ammodramus humeralis), Plain-crested Elaenia (Elaenia cristata), and House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) (Alves and Cavalcanti 1996). Sharp-tailed Tyrant (Culicivora caudacuta) also is reported to join mixed flocks with White-banded Tanager (Parker and Willis 1997, Silva et al. 1997). Researchers have hypothesized that intraspecific foraging flocks are an integral component in the formation of mixed-species flocks (e.g., Moynihan 1962). Intraspecific flocks maintain mixed-species flocks with the utilization of movements and vocalizations, and thus are considered nuclear species (Alves 1990). Despite being regarded as a nuclear species in mixed flocks, the most commonly observed social unit consists of a pair and its offspring (Alves 1990).