A very secretive and rarely seen bird, the Buff-spotted Flufftail inhabits forests and other densely vegetated patches in areas of fairly high rainfall. These days they’re found in well planted gardens within their range with increasing frequency. It is mainly insectivorous, searching for invertebrates in the leaf litter of its dense habitat. They appear to be active throughout the day and night.
Pairs of Buff-spotted Flufftails are monogamous and territorial during the breeding season, which spans the months of spring to autumn. Using a wide range of plant material the female takes about 3 days to construct a well hidden dome-shaped nest with a side entrance underneath densely growing plants. Both partners take it in turns to incubate the clutch of 3-5 eggs over a two week period. The chicks leave the nest when they’re only a day or two old, accompanying their parents on foraging excursions. They grow quickly and can fly by the time they’re about 3 weeks old. At this point their parents will kick the chicks out of their territory and start breeding again – the pair may raise up to 4 broods in a season! Fully grown Buff-spotted Flufftails are about 15cm long and weigh around 50g.
In South Africa, the Buff-spotted Flufftail has a patchy and limited distribution, stretching from the Western and Eastern Cape through most of Kwazulu-Natal on to the escarpment in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Beyond our borders they’re found over much of west, central and eastern Africa. The IUCN considers this species to be of least concern.