This handsome bird is about 13 cm (5 in) in length. The back and crown are an iridescent blue. Wings and tail are brown with a buffy colored rump. The forehead is white while the remainder of the face is reddish. The underparts are white. The tail is square.
Cliff swallows are widely distributed across a number of different habitats. These were nesting in prairie beneath a US Fish and Wildlife Service sign overhang. The nest is made up of mud pellets and can be seen in this photo.