This species breeds widely in Africa except deserts and dense forests, and is locally abundant. It is also introduced elsewhere, and in Great Britain the large self-sustaining feral population, dating back to the 18th century, means that it is officially on the British list. It is found in East Anglian parkland with lakes.
This is a largely terrestrial species, which will also perch readily on trees and buildings. It swims well, and in flight looks heavy, more like a goose than a duck.
This is a territorial species in the breeding season, and will nest in a large variety of situations.
The sexes of this striking species are identical.