The golden-cheeked warbler feeds on insects and spiders, with caterpillars being an important prey item during the breeding season. Prey is taken directly from foliage or snatched from the air (2) (3) (6) (7) (11). Less is known about the diet during winter, when the golden-cheeked warbler occurs in mixed-species flocks (2) (4) (10).
The golden-cheeked warbler arrives on the breeding grounds from early March. The male establishes a breeding territory
, often returning to the same site each year, and defends the area with song, chases, and even attacks on intruding males. The nest is built by the female, usually in an Ashe juniper tree, and is constructed from strips of juniper bark, woven together with spider silk and insect cocoons, and lined with grass, hair or down. Between 3 and 5 eggs are laid, and are incubated
by the female for around 10 to 12 days, while the male defends the territory. Both adults feed the young, which leave the nest at 9 to 12 days (2) (3) (6) (7) (11)
. The adults may then separate the brood, each caring for one part alone, but all remain together in the territory until the young are independent, at around a month after fledging. The birds leave for the wintering grounds from June to August, migrating along the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range of eastern Mexico (2) (3) (6) (11)