An unusual feature of the black-breasted buttonquail’s biology is that incubation and chick care is carried out solely by the male. Breeding generally occurs from October to February (3), however, the timing of breeding can be affected by temperatures and local rainfall, and it is thought that nesting activity may be associated with wet periods (7). During the breeding season, the female becomes territorial, and advertises her territory with a distinctive low, drumming call. Males defend temporary territories within the female’s territory, for the period of courtship and nesting (7). The nest is a scrape in the ground, lined with grass and leaves, situated under a low bush or tussock grass, often with grass stems forming a hood, or dome over the nest. Usually three to four eggs are laid, and incubated by the male for 15-16 days. After hatching, the male continues to feed the chick for two weeks (3). It is thought that the black-breasted buttonquail has a polyandrous mating system, whereby a female mates with several males in succession (7).
These omnivorous birds feed on invertebrates, such as beetles, ants, spiders, and also seeds and grains. It searches for food by scratching and pecking at the leaf litter, and also feeds by a much more unusual method; it stands on one foot and pivots, whilst raking the leaf litter with the other. This creates characteristic feeding scrapes, which advertise the presence of this shy species (3).