Usually seen in pairs or groups in Andean lakes of Central and Eastern Andes, from 2400m to 4000m. An expert diver, it is considered the Andean counterpart to the Rudy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) of North America.

Readily seen in ponds of Sabana de Bogotá, Siecha & Guasca gravel pits, and at Laguna Negra in Los Nevados. Fair numbers can be seen in Laguna del Otún (southern section of Los Nevados).

Oxyura ferruginea andina is an endemic subspecies present in the Central & Eastern Andes of Colombia. Oxyura ferruginea ferruginea is more widespread, from the Andes of southern Colombia to southern Argentina & Chile.