Frequenting the upper canopy of trees, the painted honeyeater forages in small groups, pairs, or alone, almost exclusively on mistletoe (particularly Amyema species) (7). Although it feeds mainly upon the berries, making it an important distributor of mistletoe seeds (3), it also occasionally feeds on the nectar from the flowers and insects may be plucked from the plant (7).
Breeding occurs from around September through to February. Together the male and female build a thin, delicate, cup-shaped nest from grasses, thin roots, and occasionally spidersweb or wool. Two eggs are typically laid per brood and the eggs and young are attended to by both parents until they fledge. A maximum of two broods may be raised each season. The eggs and young painted honeyeaters are vulnerable to predation, particularly from the spiny-cheeked honeyeater (Acanthagenys rufogularis) (4).