Birds That Mate For Life

Over 90% of birds are monogamous, but that does not necessarily mean they all mate for life. For starters, many birds do not live long enough to search for a different mate each breeding season, either due to short lifespans or because they die early for external reasons like predation.

However, some species of birds live for a long time and stay together throughout their lifetime. They will not only raise their eggs and young together but sometimes will not even mate again if their previous partner passes away.

Birds That Mate For Life

List of Birds That Mate For Life

Here is a list of birds known for staying together for their entire lives, arranged based on the minimum number of years they live in the wild.

Species of BirdHow Long Do They Live?(in years)When Do They Start Bonding? (in years)
Snowy Albatross6011-15
California Condor507-8
Laysan Albatross503-4
Waved Albatross456
Scarlet Macaw40-503-4
Black-footed Albatross405-7
Black Swan402
Golden Eagle25-354
Trumpeter Swan254-7
Atlantic Puffin253-6
Whooping Crane224-7
Mute Swan20-303-4
Sandhill Crane20-302-7
Black Vulture203-5
Graylag Goose203-4
Bald Eagle15-254-5
Emperor Goose123
Cackling Goose10-252-3
Secretary Bird10-152-3
Macaroni Penguin8-155-6
Little Fairy Penguin62-3
Carolina Wren61
Barn Owl4; though they can live up to 15 in some cases1
Mourning Dove2-40.25

It is important to note that out of all the above examples, there are instances where an individual bird will leave their partner or even mate with other members of their species while being in a relationship with a particular individual. This list has been made keeping in mind what the majority of birds of that species do.


1. Do cardinal birds mate for life?

While cardinal birds often stay together for multiple breeding seasons, they do not necessarily mate for life.

2. Do mockingbirds mate for life?

No. Depending on the individual, a mockingbird may change its partner during the next breeding season or stay with the same mate for multiple seasons.

3. What backyard birds mate for life?

While considerably larger than your average backyard bird, several swans and geese stay with the same partner for their entire lives.

4. What birds mate for life in North America?

Bald Eagles, Mute Swans, California Condors, etc.

5. Which birds mate for life in Australia?

Black Swan

6. Which birds mate for life in the United Kingdom?

Ospreys, some swans and geese

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