Like other tinamous, Spotted Nothura is terrestrial and when disturbed, prefer to escape by running. When flushed, they fly well and fast, however. The flight is low, only 2-4 m above the ground, and they usually fly only 15-20 m before dropping back to the ground (Belton 1984). The flight is direct; longer flights are interspersed with short glides (Bump and Bump 1969). Spotted Nothuras are not particularly wary, except where they are heavily hunted (Bump and Bump 1969).
Spotted Nothura roosts on the ground, often in fairly open cover (Bump and Bump 1969). The roost site is a slight hollow, usually under overhanging clumps of grass or among forbs (Bump and Bump 1969).
There are no published data on territorial defense, maintenance, or home range size for Spotted Nothura.
In captivity copulation usually was trigged by the sudden squatting of the female, and was relatively lengthy (Bump and Bump 1969).
Promiscuity and homosexuality was observed by Bump and Bump (1969) in penned birds. When several of each sex are penned together, occasionally a female may copulate with two males within rapid succession. One female was observed to mount another. Little seems to be known about sexual behavior of Spotted Nothura in the wild, but from what is known of the breeding system of other species, "the general rule among tinamous is simultaneous polygyny for males and sequential polyandry for females" (Cabot 1992).
Social and interspecific behavior
Spotted Nothuras usually are encountered as pairs or as solitary individuals (Belton 1984), but occasionally congregates in larger numbers (Bump and Bump 1969).
Bump and Bump (1969) found feathers and a wing of a Spotted Nothura at one of six entrance mounds of Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia). Of six nothura nests that were damaged or destroyed, and for which the cause could be determined, three were raided by foxes, one by an opossum or a skunk, and two were trampled by cattle.