Prefers open areas, including open woodlands. Nest sites near rocky gorges, shale banks, stony road cuts, railroad embankments, gravel pits, stream margins, and other exposed banks of clay, sand, or gravel, commonly near water (Lunk 1962, Dejong 1996). Nests in burrows in cliffs, riverbanks, roadside cuts, culverts, drain pipes, holes in walls, under bridges; locally in caves and old buildings (NatureServe 2007b). In B.C., this species is found from near sea level to 1,700 m in elevation (Campbell et al. 1997). Nonbreeding birds frequent areas near water, open ploughed fields, meadows, and cliff faces (Campbell et al. 1997).
Campbell, R. W., N. K. Dawe, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J. M. Cooper, G. W. Kaiser, M. C. E. McNall, and G. E. J. Smith. 1997. The Birds of British Columbia. Volume 3. Passerines: flycatchers through vireos. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver. 693 pages.
Dejong, M. J. 1996. Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis). In The Birds of North America, No.253 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists’ Union.
Lunk, W. A. 1962. The Rough-winged Swallow: a study based on its breeding biology in Michigan. Bulletin Nuttal Ornithol. Club no. 4.
NatureServe. 2007b. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 6.2. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.natureserve.org/explorer.