The one-dimensional focusing nonlinear Schrödinger equation (NLSE) on an unstable condensate background is the fundamental physical model that can be applied to study the development of modulation instability (MI) and formation of rogue waves. The complete integrability of the NLSE via inverse scattering transform enables the decomposition of the initial conditions into elementary nonlinear modes: breathers and continuous spectrum waves. The small localized condensate perturbations (SLCP) that grow as a result of MI have been of fundamental interest in nonlinear physics for many years. Here, we demonstrate that Kuznetsov-Ma and superregular NLSE breathers play the key role in the dynamics of a wide class of SLCP. During the nonlinear stage of MI development, collisions of these breathers lead to the formation of rogue waves. We present new scenarios of rogue wave formation for randomly distributed breathers as well as for artificially prepared initial conditions. For the latter case, we present an analytical description based on the exact expressions found for the space-phase shifts that breathers acquire after collisions with each other. Finally, the presence of Kuznetsov-Ma and superregular breathers in arbitrary-type condensate perturbations is demonstrated by solving the Zakharov-Shabat eigenvalue problem with high numerical accuracy.