The Northern Rough-winged Swallow is found in most of California except in the southern deserts and up to the higher elevations.
The Northern rough-winged swallow spends the winter in Mexico and South America where insects are plentiful during this part of the year. A few stranglers do overwinter in the far south east of the state along the Colorado river and around the Salton sea.
The Northern Rough-winged swallow does not require a wet area near their nest site like the Cliff Swallow as they do not build their nests from mud however they do seem to prefer water near by this is probably because there are usually a high abundance of insects in these areas. They can also be found in more arid environments as well as forested areas.
The Norther Rough-winged Swallow eats insects that they hawk from the air.
The Northern Rough-winged swallow is hard to attract to your garden as it eats insects and most people don't want to attract that many insects to their garden. (Were not talking butterflies here.) We had this couple come to our yard in search of a nesting site. They seem to find the antic vents of our Spanish style house appealing but in the end the found them unsuitably and left. They don't seem to like nest boxes and prefer to nest in cavities of dirt, rather than trees.
The Northern Rough winged swallow is a cavity nester. Often using an old hole or burrow or excavating their own in a cliff face, or a creek or river bank. They especially like old kingfisher burrows, drainpipes and culverts. Unlike the Cliff Swallow the Northern rough-winged swallow often nests in a single pair rather than in a large colony. They often line their nest holes with soft plant material.