Care of Birds
Endangered, Vulnerable, and Threatened Species

Which birds mate for life?

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2008-05-21 10:16:56

Many birds form long-term pair bonds that may last a lifetime,

or only several years. No species is known to always mate for life;

studies show that most monogamous species are more like humans, in

that some pairings last only a short time, some for years, and a

few for a lifetime.

Birds known to form long-term pair bonds that may last a

lifetime include swans, geese, most hawks, eagles and falcons, most

parrots, albatrosses, ravens, pigeons and doves, and more. Birds as

a class contain more monogamous species than not, though some

species switch mates more often than others. Most migratory

songbirds find a new mate every year. Relatively few bird species

are polygamous (males mate with many females), and just a few are

polyandrous (females mate with many males).

Also like humans, though, even pair-bonded birds are known

through genetic testing to occasionally "cheat" on their


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