Wild Birds

Forest Falcons

Forest falcons are members of the genus Micrastur, part of the family Falconidae. Forest falcons, like many Accipiter‘s but unlike other falcons, are adapted for agility in thick cover rather than outright speed in clear air.

Distribution / Range

They are endemic to the Americas, being found from Mexico in the north, south through Central America, and large parts of South America, as far south as northern Argentina.

Most are restricted to humid tropical and subtropical forests, but the two most widespread species, the Collared and the Barred Forest Falcons, also range into drier and more open habitats.


They have short wings, long tails, and extraordinarily acute hearing. While generally highly inconspicuous, their songs are commonly heard.

Diet / Feeding

Diet is a mixture of birds, mammals, and reptiles. Hunting is often performed in Goshawk fashion: The bird takes up a perch in an inconspicuous position and waits for a prey species to pass, then strikes with a short, rapid pursuit.

Forest falcons are inventive, flexible hunters, and at least some species (such as the relatively long-legged Collared Forest Falcon) are also capable of catching terrestrial prey on foot.


In 2002, a new species was described, found in the Atlantic forest and the southeastern Amazon of Brazil, while later also confirmed for adjacent parts of Bolivia. It has been named Micrastur mintoni, the Cryptic Forest Falcon.

Birds of PreyFalcon InformationThe Sport of Falconry

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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