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Revision as of 22:11, December 6, 2012

Forest-falcons
240px
Collared Forest Falcon
Micrastur semitorquatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Falconidae
Subfamily: Polyborinae
Genus: Micrastur
G.R. Gray, 1841
Species

7 currently recognised: See text

Forest falcons are members of the genus Micrastur, part of the family Falconidae. They are endemic to the Americas, found from Mexico in the north, south through Central America and large parts of South America, and 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.

Forest falcons, like most Accipiter-type hawks (but unlike other falcons), are adapted for agility in thick cover rather than outright speed in the open air. They have short wings, long tails, and extraordinarily acute hearing. While generally visually inconspicuous, their songs are commonly heard.

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 (and later also confirmed for adjacent parts of Bolivia). It has been named Micrastur mintoni, the Cryptic Forest Falcon, as it is phenotypically highly similar to M. gilvicollis.

Species

References

  • Bierregaard, R. O. (1994) Species accounts - Genus Micrastur. In: Del Hojo J, Elliott A, Sargatal J (eds), Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 2, pp 252–254. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions
  • Whittaker, A. (2002). A new species of forest-falcon (Falconidae: Micrastur) from south eastern Amazonia and the rain forests of Brazil. Wilson Bulletin, 114, 421–445.




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