Swallows have strong wings because they must be excellent fliers to avoid predators and capture their prey. Usually, swallows subsist on flying insects that are caught in mid-air. Swallows are well-adapted for flying, and they are capable of unbelievable aerial acrobatics.
Swallows prefer open habitats, such as fields, parks, meadows, marshes and coastal areas. These open spaces allow the birds to concentrate on capturing their prey without having to worry about running into objects, such as trees and bushes. Swallows are skilled fliers that often come close to the ground or the water when hunting prey. Swallows rarely glide, instead they flap their wings throughout the various portions of their flights. Swallows also fly more than many other bird species. Aside from perching at night, most swallows spend the bulk of their time in the air.
In North America, swallows are generally migratory, and they travel to South America during the winter. This is necessary because the supremely active birds require a constant supply of insects to feed themselves. Because few flying insects are active during cold weather, swallows must move to warm climates to obtain enough food.
Swallows often place their nests in secluded areas near their open habitats, such as the undersides of bridges and overpasses.