Although the Chestnut Teal occurs at wetlands hundreds of kilometres inland, the species’ strongholds are usually near the coast. It is one of the few species of Australian ducks that can tolerate habitats with highly saline water. They regularly occur in estuaries, inlets, exposed mudflats, coastal lagoons, saltmarsh and evaporation ponds at saltworks. Nevertheless, they also occur at freshwater wetlands. They usually feed at the margins of wetlands, among aquatic vegetation in the shallows or upending in deeper water, or dabbling on recently covered mudflats or sand.