Although they sometimes mix with groups of tanagers and warblers, bananaquits are generally solitary or in pairs. Their energetic behaviour may make them appear nervous, but in fact they are at ease around people, approaching their garden flowers and hummingbird feeders. They sometimes fly into kitchens in search of sugar and can even be tamed.
These are fairly noisy birds, as they are persistent singers. The male has a repertoire of 120 to 340 calls. They do not migrate, but wide expanses of water are no obstacle, and their exceptional dispersal ability means that they can easily colonize islands.
Aside from the first kind of nest used for reproduction, males and females each make at least one other kind of nest, where they spend the night on their own or with other similar birds. They are active during the day and return to the nest at sunset.
To protect themselves from parasites and bacteria, they coat their feathers with a mixture of oils and waxes that makes them flexible, resilient and water-resistant. This mixture is produced by a preen gland located above the base of the tail.
They bathe in rainwater that accumulates in bromeliads to rinse their feathers, which become sticky after they have visited flowers.