|Conservation status||Numbers probably stable. Benefits in some areas from supply of artificial nest sites, including nest boxes. In other areas, may suffer from competition for nest sites with introduced starlings and House Sparrows.|
|Habitat||Widespread when foraging; nests in open forests, mountains, towns. During migration, often near water, as along rivers, lakes, coastline. Wide range of nesting habitats, mainly in semi-open situations, including aspen groves, pine forest, canyon walls, sometimes open prairie if nest sites exist. In Mexico, also in low desert, nesting in holes in giant cactus.|
Forages in flight, catching insects in the air. Often flies higher than other swallows, although it will feed low over ponds, especially in bad weather. Usually forages in flocks; may associate with other swallows or with White-throated Swifts.
4-6, rarely 7. White. Incubation is evidently mostly or entirely by the female, about 13-18 days. Young: Both parents feed nestlings, but female often does more. Young leave the nest about 23-24 days after hatching. Parents continue to feed the young for some time after they leave the nest. 1 brood per year, perhaps sometimes 2.
Both parents feed nestlings, but female often does more. Young leave the nest about 23-24 days after hatching. Parents continue to feed the young for some time after they leave the nest. 1 brood per year, perhaps sometimes 2.
Insects. Feeds on a wide variety of flying insects, such as flies, true bugs, wasps, winged ants, wild bees, beetles, moths, and many others.
May nest in isolated pairs or in small colonies. Nest site is in a cavity, usually an old woodpecker hole or natural cavity in tree, sometimes in hole or crevice in rock. Will use birdhouses. In northwestern Mexico, will nest in holes in giant cactus. Nest (built by both sexes, with female doing most of work) is a cup of grass, twigs, rootlets, lined with many feathers.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates in flocks. Very rarely overwinters north of Mexico, except for some on California coast. Spring migration very early, returning to southwest in large numbers by February.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA high dee-chip given in flight. Also a series of varying tweet notes.
Learn more about this sound collection.
How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Violet-green Swallow
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Violet-green Swallow
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.