The violet green swallow is one of the most beautiful swallows in California. It is a nearly iridescent green and violet in color with bright white under parts.
The Violet-green swallow overwinters along the central coast of California especially around the San Francisco bay area and in the central valley. A large portion of the birds in California spend the winter in Mexico as there are far greater quantities of insects down there in the winter that in California.
The range of the Violet-green swallow in California is very complex. For the most part they are absent from the central valley and the southern deserts in summer but are found in the rest of the state. In winter their population shifts moving south or along the coast and into the San Joaquin valley.
The Violet-green swallow eats insects usually by hawking. They prefer to hunt over water as there is usually an abundance of insects. They have been seen hunting over coastal salt marshes as well as over dry hot chaparral.
The Violet-green swallow is a secondary cavity nester using old woodpecker holes in trees or holes in cliffs. They have to compete with European starlings and house sparrows for nests. They nest in single pairs rather than large colonies like the Cliff swallow. Both pictures we have of them, they are collecting sticks. We assumed these were for their nests. This bird seamed really choosy about which stick was worthy of going in its nest. They will use nest boxes.
The Violet green swallow can be attracted to your garden by a nest box. They may also want a good place to hunt for insects. Usually a nearby athletic field will suffice.