This terrestrial bird moves around in groups of three to six, sometimes as many as ten, individuals. As they walk around together, sometimes deliberately with their heads moving forward and backwards, sometimes rapidly and constantly changing direction, they frequently stop to probe patches of bare sandy soil with their bill (2), or rummage in leaf litter (4). The subdesert mesite feeds on invertebrates, as well as small fruits and seeds (2), and may dig below the soil surface to find a meal, leaving characteristic dimples in the ground (3).
If alarmed or threatened, the group remains close as they run swiftly away, or a bird may fly to perch on a branch to escape danger (2). The only other time this bird is observed flying is to reach a roost site or nest (4), which are situated in bushes or trees a few metres off the ground (2).
The nest of the subdesert mesite is a simple, shallow platform of a few interwoven twigs with leaves and bark (2) (3). Nesting occurs between November and January (2) (3), when a clutch of one to two whitish eggs, speckled with brown and grey, are laid (2). Both the male and female share in the tasks of incubation, feeding and caring for the young (3).