Cloaked in iridescent purple and green, the Violet-green swallow is quite a gem. These small, sleek birds are about 5 – 5 1/2 inches long. The crown and back is a very distinctive green and violet, underparts are white extending up to the sides of the rump, as are the sides of their heads. The females are somewhat more dull and drab than the male. The young are a brownish-grey with white-grey belly. The bills of the swallow are short and wide, similar to a baseball glove, which they open and close with a precise snapping motion. Their wings are narrow, long and pointed and their tails forked or notched. These features help to reduce drag and allow for the fast turns that are necessary to pursue their prey.Their feet are small and well designed for flight and perching but not for walking on the ground.They are very acrobatic and forage nearly exclusively while flying. In bad weather and later in the year, they can be found feeding just above the surface of lakes and ponds snapping the insects that are hovering over the warm water.
The Violet-green swallow forages over various terrain, coniferous forests in mountainous areas, wooded canyons, prairies, wetlands and water. This swallow can also be found in urban areas located at forest edges. They sometimes ride currents of warm rising air to lofty heights in search of food. The heights are determined depending on weather factors that affect the height of the flying insects. They go wherever they need to in search of food.Their diet is almost exclusively flying insects.
They nest in cliff cavities, in woodpecker holes, cavities of buildings as well as bird houses. Both the female and the male construct the nest with grass, straw, twigs and lined with softer materials such as feathers. The female incubates 4 to 6 white eggs for 14 or 15 days. Both male and female parents feed the young in the nest for 3 weeks or so and even for some time after they leave the nest.