They take to flight abruptly, flying fast and low with bursts of wing-beats alternating with gliding; sustained flights is uncommon, usually landing after about 30 metres. Live in groups of up to 15 birds.
Lives among spinifex in rocky ranges and gorges; less often in sandy country.
Never far from water; Spinifex Pigeons concentrate around remaining waterholes in times of drought, if all the waterholes dry up then spinifex pigeons die.
They feed almost exclusively on seeds dropped by plants growing among spinifex hummocks. Spinifex seeds are an important part of their diet in the years spinifex flowers.
Breeds throughout the year but most breeding takes place after annual rainfall about September to November. The nest is a scrape in the ground lined with a few pieces of grass; usually beside a rock or spinifex hummock. Two eggs are laid; cream rather glossy, ellipsoidal in shape, about 26 by 20 mm. Incubation takes 16 to 17 days by both parents. Young fledge in about eight days.
There are three recognised variants all with the same head and facial markings and colouring. Variant plumifera, with a white belly and breast, is found in the East Kimberley, WA and Victoria River, NT region; variant ferruginea, with bright rufous breast and belly, is found in the Pilbara, WA; while leucogaster, with breast and belly rufous with varying extent of white, is found in western Queensland, eastern and south-western Northern Territory. Variants plumifera and leucogaster have a black and white breast band; ferruginea lacks the white breast band and has a limited black breast band. Variants form hybrids between adjoining populations.