Monogamy is a concept we humans are familiar with, but what about our animal friends? Is monogamy a concept they adhere to as well?
Although many might assume that all animals will mate with just about anyone from their species, that is not the case. You can indeed find animals that form lasting bonds and only mate with each other.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of animals that mate for life. Feel free to give it a read and learn more about the animals that choose to be monogamous.
Table of Contents
- 1. Albatrosses
- 2. Atlantic Puffins
- 3. Bald Eagles
- 4. Barn Owls
- 5. Beavers
- 6. Black Vultures
- 7. California Condors
- 8. California Mice
- 9. Cardinals
- 10. Coyotes
- 11. Dik-Diks
- 12. French Angelfish
- 13. Geese
- 14. Gibbons
- 15. Gray Wolves
- 16. Lovebirds
- 17. Macaroni Penguins
- 18. Monk Parakeets
- 19. Oldfield Mice
- 20. Pigeons
- 21. Prairie Voles
- 22. Red Foxes
- 23. Sandhill Cranes
- 24. Scarlet Macaws
- 25. Seahorses
- 26. Shingleback Skinks
- 27. Swans
Leading off the complete list of animals that mate for life are the albatrosses.
Albatrosses are famous for spending much of their time soaring through the skies. They look absolutely majestic with their wings spread out and the blue sky and waters serving as their beautiful backdrop.
You can find albatrosses flying all over the place. An albatross is capable of covering millions of square kilometers over the course of its lifetime.
Interestingly enough, all that traveling does not give the albatross wandering eyes. Once albatrosses mate, they remain faithful to each other for the rest of their lives. You will see nests of albatross couples on islands that line the Antarctic Circle.
See Related: Animals That Start With V
2. Atlantic Puffins
You may not know the Atlantic puffin by name, but you will likely recognize its appearance. The Atlantic puffin is best known for having a colorful beak and a coating of feathers that resembles what a penguin has.
Speaking of the Atlantic puffin’s beak, that part of its body is actually useful for attracting mates. Researchers have observed that Atlantic puffins tend to stay together, but it’s not entirely clear if they are monogamous for life.
It’s unclear what Atlantic puffin couples get up to during the winter. Still, researchers have noted that two puffins will meet up at their burrow once they return home.
See Related: Best Books on Endangered Species
3. Bald Eagles
The aforementioned birds are known for their stunning displays of speed and skill. They can swoop in on unsuspecting predators and snatch their prey away from them.
In terms of breeding, bald eagles are believed to remain monogamous. Pairs of bald eagles can often be seen tending to their eggs while staying in their large nests.
See Related: Important Pros and Cons of Captive Breeding
4. Barn Owls
Barn owls have mating habits that are not completely similar to other animals that mate for life. That’s because barn owls only become monogamous if a specific condition is met.
To be more specific, barn owls only become monogamous if they are able to produce enough offspring. If that doesn’t happen, the two barn owls may seek out other mates.
Even with that tendency, most barn owls still end up remaining monogamous. National Geographic notes that 75 percent of barn owl couples stick together for the long haul.
See Related: War and Effect on Wildlife
Beavers are known for being diligent workers and they don’t fool around. Or at least the Eurasian beavers don’t.
Researchers have found that Eurasian beavers differ from many of their counterparts because they prefer to be monogamous. It’s believed that Eurasian beavers form a strong bond with only one partner because doing so helps them gather resources more efficiently.
See Related: Animals That Start With I
6. Black Vultures
Black vultures are known to stay together with their mates throughout the entire year. The changing seasons do not sever their bond.
Aside from being monogamous, black vultures also like to keep their relatives close. The family structure is a real thing for black vultures.
See Related: Why Were Animals So Big in The Past?
7. California Condors
California condors are also classified as vultures. Like the black vultures above, they dine on carrion left behind by predators. The black vultures and California condors also share similarities in terms of mating habits because they often remain with one partner.
Still, it may be more accurate to say that California condors treat mating the same way that barn owls do. Once California condors discover that they are not suitable for mating, they will not hesitate to seek out a new partner.
See Related: Endangered Species in California
8. California Mice
Mating relationships can be remarkably complex for California mice. A tendency to become monogamous is not the only interesting aspect of their relationship dynamics.
Researchers have also found that California mice will confront one another about potential infidelity. Partners may grow angry at each other after they are separated for some time. Upon being reunited, California mice may eventually reconcile, but not before arguments ensue.
See Related: Most Endangered Amphibians in the World
Cardinals are famous for their bright red feathers. Those bright red feathers may also be cluing us into the romantic side of these birds.
The aforementioned cardinals are monogamous and they also support one another while raising a family. Male cardinals feed their partners so the incubation process is not as difficult for the latter. Even when they head out to travel, you can expect cardinal couples to stay together.
See Related: Malayan Tiger
We continue this list of animals that mate for life by turning our attention to coyotes. Coyotes double as great hunters because they move quickly and have great senses. The fact that they tend to stick together also helps them survive.
Male and female coyotes will form lifelong bonds with one another. Once the pups are born, the parents work together to provide for them.
The familial bonds between coyotes are strong. That’s a big reason why coyotes have successfully adapted to the changing world around them.
See Related: Endangered Species in Florida
By Yathin sk
Many wildlife biologists have studied dik-diks over the years. Over the years, they’ve discovered that dik-diks don’t travel like other species of antelope.
Instead of traveling in packs, dik-diks prefer to travel in pairs. Their preferred companion for the journey also happens to be their mating partner.
Most antelope are not known for being monogamous animals that mate for life. That’s why dik-diks stand out from the pack in more ways than one.
See Related: Yellow-Eared Parrot
12. French Angelfish
Do lobsters mate for life? If you’re an avid fan of the TV show “Friends”, then you likely think you have the answer to that question already. Unfortunately, that famous claim is mistaken.
Per this article from Today.com, male lobsters are actually known for mating with several of their female counterparts. So, does that mean that no animals living underwater are monogamous?
That’s not the case either as French angelfish are among two water-based animals that mate with only one partner. French angelfish will even stay paired together as they navigate the world beneath the waves.
See Related: Ways to Save Animals from Extinction
We humans are the only ones who pledge to stay together ‘til death do us part, but that seems to be an unspoken covenant for geese. Geese go way beyond practicing monogamy to show commitment to their partners.
If their partner is injured, a goose will stay with them. The healthy goose will stay until their partner is well enough to move again. Only death will cause partner geese to part ways.
See Related: What is The Goal of Wildlife Conservation?
When it comes to gibbons, being monogamous is just one aspect of their interesting relationship dynamics. The arguably more fascinating aspect of the relationship between gibbons is the way they bond with each other.
Gibbons belt out these distinctive songs that only their partners know. Those songs help bring gibbons together and they also prevent those animals from drifting apart.
See Related: Western Lowland Gorilla
15. Gray Wolves
Do wolves mate for life? Monogamy is not the norm for many wolf species, but gray wolves are an exception.
The male and female wolves who lead the pack are the only ones allowed to mate. Throughout their lifetimes, the two leaders remain monogamous as they grow the pack and establish their dominance.
Gray wolves rely on a hierarchical power structure to keep the pack organized. Their mating habits are crucial to keeping that hierarchy in order.
See Related: Florida Manatee
While thinking of what animals mate for life, you probably thought of lovebirds at some point. After all, the clue is right there in the name. But could their name be misleading?
In this case, the term lovebird is appropriate for these feathery creatures. Monogamy is indeed the norm for lovebirds and the bonds they form last for a lifetime.
According to The Spruce Pets, the bonds that lovebirds form with one another are so strong that they may ignore everything else around them. Keep that in mind if you’re thinking of caring for lovebirds as pets.
See Related: Javan Rhino
17. Macaroni Penguins
Macaroni penguins don’t just practice monogamy. They are also more than eager to show affection to their partners.
When macaroni penguins that are bonded together see one another, they will engage in a kind of song and dance routine. It’s not an especially elaborate routine, but you can see the affection the two macaroni penguins have for one another.
See Related: What Is The Hunter’s Role In Wildlife Conservation?
18. Monk Parakeets
Displays of affection are also the norm for monk parakeets. These birds sometimes seem like they are in a constant state of courtship.
Even after they have bonded, it’s not unusual to see monk parakeets trying to impress one another. Perhaps it’s their way of keeping the romance alive. In any case, those habits are clearly working for monk parakeets because they are known to bond for the rest of their lives.
See Related: Animals That Start With X
19. Oldfield Mice
Earlier, we highlighted California mice and the unique way they handled their relationships. For this entry, let’s turn our attention to Oldfield mice.
Oldfield mice make for great parents. After they mate, the parents continue to work together as they care for their offspring. They form the kind of relationship that is beneficial for all the parties involved.
See Related: Importance of Wildlife Conservation
The list of animals that mate for life would not be complete without pigeons. A lot of people don’t have fond memories to take from their limited interactions with pigeons. However, those who’ve cared for pigeons as pets know how loyal those birds are.
Pigeons are happy to stick to one partner for the entirety of their lives. Pigeon couples also become very familiar with one another because they breed on a regular basis.
The next time you see some pigeons flying overhead, check if they’re flying in pairs. You may have just encountered a pigeon couple looking for a meal to share.
See Related: Spoon-Billed Sandpiper
21. Prairie Voles
Finding out that so many animals practice monogamy can be somewhat surprising. Even among the animals that exhibit that kind of behavior, the prairie voles stand out.
The fact that prairie voles share parenting duties is interesting, but probably not surprising at this point. As we’ve seen, other animals develop those tendencies as well.
What sets prairie voles apart is how they act when their partner dies. When one of the prairie voles dies, the surviving partner does not look for a new mate. It’s atypical behavior for members of the animal kingdom, but most prairie voles practice it.
See Related: Why Do Animals Like Being Pet?
22. Red Foxes
Monogamy is also the norm for red foxes. Similar to other canine species we’ve highlighted in this article, red foxes also develop familial bonds. The older red foxes are the ones that seek out food for the pups.
Notably, red foxes don’t watch out for their offspring that long. After only a few months after they’re born, the young foxes are allowed to hunt for their food. The younger foxes have to figure out a way to survive without much help from their parents.
See Related: Wild Bactrian Camel
23. Sandhill Cranes
Like numerous other birds, sandhill cranes are monogamous creatures. They almost have to be given the amount of effort they put into attracting a mate.
Sandhill cranes are famous for their extravagant displays of flirtation. Couples will sing together as if they’ve known the lyrics to the song the whole time.
While engaged in wooing activities, some sandhill cranes will jump, run, and dance for their mate. It’s an awesome display to observe. You can understand why sandhill cranes stay together after seeing the extent to which they make their affections known.
See Related: Important Pros and Cons of Culling Animals
24. Scarlet Macaws
Scarlet macaws grow very close to one another once they pair up. It goes beyond committing to one another as mating partners for life.
When scarlet macaws pair up, they bond in different ways. It’s common to see relaxed scarlet macaws grooming one another. Sharing food is also a common practice for them.
You may notice that scarlet macaws change their calls when they have kids. They may do that to create clear lines of communication within their family.
See Related: Brown Hyena
Seahorses are anomalies in the animal kingdom because the males are the ones that give birth. The female seahorse will place her eggs in the male’s pouch to initiate breeding. From there, the male fertilizes the eggs, carries them, and eventually releases them to hatch.
With seahorses, being monogamous is just another aspect of their unusual reproduction routine.
It’s hard to deny that seahorses are fascinating creatures. By contributing to conservation efforts, we will ensure that future generations will also be able to marvel at the seahorse’s reproductive cycle.
See Related: Asian Elephant
26. Shingleback Skinks
Shingleback skinks stand out because they are the only lizards featured in this list of animals that mate for life. They are also quite different because they are solitary creatures most of the time.
Breeding season is the only time when shingleback skinks will seek out others. Even then, they will look for the same mate each time.
No one’s mistaking shingleback skinks for being romantic creatures, but their commitment to being solitary and monogamous is pretty remarkable.
See Related: Black Rhino
To close out this list of all animals that mate for life, we have the swans. Swans are synonymous with beauty and elegance, but there’s more to them than that.
Swans will mate with only a single partner for life. If tragedy strikes and their partner dies, the surviving swan will grieve. The practice of grieving a deceased loved one is something we share in common with them.
Monogamy is not just a learned concept, nor is it solely a practice followed by humans. For many members of the animal kingdom, monogamy is a type of behavior they willingly embrace.