These Monogamous Animals Stay Together For Life

We can all learn a lesson in relationships from these loving animal couples.

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Monogamous animals - Macaroni Penguins
Tetyana Dotsenko /

Monogamous Animals

Macaroni Penguins

More than 90 per cent of birds are monogamous, but none of them show affection quite like macaroni penguins. These adorable couples dance when they see each other, called “an ecstatic display.” They puff up their chests, swing their heads side to side, and make a gurgling-like sound. Once their baby is born, the father looks after the chick while the mother hunts for food.

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Monogamous animals - sandhill cranes
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Sandhill Cranes

Humans have love songs and poetry, but sandhill cranes have “unison calling” to profess their bond to the world. Female cranes squawk twice and the male cranes respond with a single squawk. We doubt it would have the same effect on humans.

Don’t miss this gorgeous gallery of Canadian birds.

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Monogamous animals - seahorses
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Long before male seahorses carry their babies in the pouch on their stomachs, they flirt with potential mates by intertwining tails and dancing around each other. Female seahorses, on the other hand, can get jealous and compete with each other for a certain male.

Check out these funny Canadian animals captured on camera!

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Monogamous animals - gray wolf pair
Nagel Photography /

Gray Wolves

An alpha male and his female partner are basically a power couple; the social hierarchy of all other gray wolves in the pack depends on them. These monogamous animals breed once a year.

Read the incredible story of a hiker’s bond with an Alaskan timber wolf.

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Pair of young barn owls
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Barn Owls

Barn owls also have their own language of love. Male owls “flirt” with potential mates by giving them dead mice and screeching, and females who are interested respond by croaking.

Check out the most beautiful bird photography from across Canada.

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Shingleback skinks
reptiles4all /

Shingleback Skinks

The shingleback skink is a type of lizard native to Australia that returns to the same partner each mating season. The males woo the females by caressing and liking them, but the romantic chase pays off; their partnership could last more than 20 years. These monogamous animals even walk close together, with the male following slightly behind his mate.

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Pair of bald eagles
Richard Lowthian /

Bald Eagles

Just like gray wolves, bald eagles return to their same partners each mating season. The male eagles also help keep the eggs warm and feed the little ones after they’re born.

Don’t miss our guide to the birds of the Okanagan.

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Monogamous animals - black vultures
Steve Byland /

Black Vultures

Vultures have a rather grim reputation, but at least they can be creepy with a loving mate. During courtship, male vultures circle the females with extended necks, and then chase and dive toward them. These monogamous animals stay together all year round, and once eggs join their family, they take turns incubating them for 24-hour shifts.

Find out why New Zealand’s kiwi bird is in danger of disappearing.

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Monogamous animals - beavers couple
P Harstela /


Not much is known about how beavers find their mates, but once they do, they stick with that partner for life. A genetic study by Charles University in Prague even found that beavers stay faithful to their mates. Granted, this only applies to European beavers. North American beavers do partner up, but they also, as we humans would say, “see other people.”

Discover the best wildlife experience in every province.

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Swans couple on lake
Dark_Side /


There’s a reason why swans have become a symbol of love. When they court, these monogamous animals curve their necks toward each other in a heart shape, lift their wings, and bow. However, the grunting and hissing noises they make in the process are less romantic. But that doesn’t stop them from spending the rest of their lives together.

Don’t miss this breathtaking gallery of winter birds in Canada.

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Pair of gibbons cuddling
Roland IJdema /


These small apes have relationships that can mirror those of humans, in that couples do cheat, breakup, and even “remarry.” For the primate couples that do stay together, they groom each other and equally help raise their children.

If you enjoyed this roundup of monogamous animals, be sure to check out our heartwarming tribute to a mother’s love in the wild.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest