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Animals rely on visual motion for navigating the world, and research in flies has clarified how neural circuits extract information from moving visual scenes. However, the major pathways connecting these patterns of optic flow to behavior remain poorly understood. Using a high-throughput quantitative assay of visually guided behaviors and genetic neuronal silencing, we discovered a region in Drosophila’s protocerebrum critical for visual motion following. We used neuronal silencing, calcium imaging, and optogenetics to identify a single cell type, LPC1, that innervates this region, detects translational optic flow, and plays a key role in regulating forward walking. Moreover, the population of LPC1s can estimate the travelling direction, such as when gaze direction diverges from body heading. By linking specific cell types and their visual computations to specific behaviors, our findings establish a foundation for understanding how the nervous system uses vision to guide navigation.