The combination of a dark cap, pale buffy cheeks and red bill is diagnostic. Larger than Hottentot Teal, which has a blue (not red) bill. The dark cap distinguishes it from Cape Teal. In flight, the secondaries are pale and the lack of a dark green speculum precludes confusion with Hottentot Teal.
Female has less black on bill than male. Juvenile is duller than adult.
Occurs in mixed flocks on fresh water.
Male gives a soft nasal whistle; female quacks.