The Barred Forest-Falcon is one of the more widespread and familiar species in the poorly-known genus Micrastur. It inhabits forest and forest edge in lowlands and mountain slopes from Mexico south to northern Argentina. Like others in its genus, it has a long tail and short wings for improved maneuverability in dense forest. The Barred is distinguished from the similar Plumbeous (M. plumbeus), Lined (M. gilvicollis), and Cryptic (M. mintoni) forest-falcons by a combination of iris color, the strength of barring on the underparts, and the number of white bands in the tail. It feeds on birds, reptiles, arthropods, and bats in pursuit through the forest or by catpuring birds and arthropods at army ant swarms. It nests in tree cavities.