The African pochard occurs from the Cape to the Ethiopian highlands on water bodies with or without emergent vegetation. They are suspected to have been strong migrants in the past but the construction of numerous farm dams seems to allow them a more sedentary lifestyle. They reach highest concentrations in Africa's central plateaus and in the south-western winter rainfall region. This bird is sociable and gregarious. It has been seen in groups of up to 5,000.
The clutch consists of six to fifteen eggs.