Skip to content

Monogamous animals: what are they and list with examples

Monogamy is not an exclusive condition of human beings who decide to have it as a way of life in relationships. There are a large number of animals in nature that maintain the same couple throughout life or for long periods of time. Although most animal species are not monogamous, it is true that this is common in various animal species, both birds and mammals, or even some amphibians.

If you want to learn more about which animals are monogamous, join us in this AgroCorrn article in which we talk about 12 monogamous animals, what they are and a list with examples and photos .

You may also be interested: 14 animals without brains: list and photos

What are monogamous animals and list of examples

When speaking of monogamous animals, we generally think of species that maintain their mate throughout their lives. And this is partly true, but in nature we must distinguish two types of monogamy, social and sexual. The social monogamous animals , that are those we usually mean when we use simply the term “monogamous” are those in which the male and female form a stable relationship along several breeding seasons or for a long time, copulate and they collaborate to a greater or lesser extent in the tasks of raising and protecting the offspring. This monogamy is by far the most common, and in it it is common for both the male and the female to have sporadic sexual relations with other members of the group. The sexual monogamy, on the other hand, it is one in which the male and female couple copulate only and exclusively between them, and it is much rarer to see.

There are also many different reasons why evolution has inclined different species to monogamy. In some cases, these are species with offspring that need help for a long time, so male and female need to collaborate to bring them forward. In others, individuals are scattered and unlikely to encounter other members of their species, so monogamy is also very practical. And in some mammals, the male stays with the female to protect the young from the infanticide that is common in some species when there is a change of dominant male in a group.

Although there are animals that are more prone to monogamy, such as birds, of which an estimated 90% are monogamous, it is still a rare condition to see in nature: only 5% of animal species are.

Examples of monogamous animals

  1. White-tailed crane ( Grus antigone )
  2. Gibbon ( Hylobatidae )
  3. Agaporni or love birds ( Agapornis )
  4. Dik dik ( Madoqua )
  5. Orca ( Orcinus orca )
  6. Andean condor ( Vultur gryphus )
  7. Field mouse ( Apodemus sylvaticus )
  8. Wolf ( Canis lupus )
  9. Beaver ( Beaver )
  10. Imitator poison frog ( Ranitomeya imitator )
  11. Seahorse (Hippocampus)
  12. Penguin (Spheniscidae)

White-tailed crane

The white-tailed crane or Grus antigone is a species from India and is one of the most extreme cases of fidelity in the animal world . When one member of a pair of these birds dies, the other falls into depression, falls ill and stops eating until it dies too; rarely does the surviving couple live much longer.


The gibbons (Hylobatidae) are among monogamous primates . About 25% of primate species are believed to be socially monogamous species. In addition, together they collaborate in the breeding of their offspring and on average they usually have 4 offspring.


The lovebird or bird of love bird (Agapornis) , is a tropical bird that forms pairs in its large groups and maintains them for life, sharing all their tasks. So much so that in the couple of these monogamous animals , when one dies it is very likely that the other will become ill with grief and follow him in a short time.

Dik dik

The African antelope dik dik ( Madoqua ) mates only once and maintains it throughout its life, and also maintains a stable place of residence. The males are smaller than the females and they ignore the young, although they do defend the territory.

Monogamous marine animals: killer whales

The orcas ( Orcinus orca ) are cetaceans with a very complex social structure, which really strong ties develop. They are matriarchal and tend to show social monogamy , in which the partner lasts for life . Learn more about these cetaceans in these other articles on How killer whales are classified and Why the killer whale is in danger of extinction .

Andean condor

When the Andean condor ( Vultur gryphus ) is six years old, it reaches maturity. From this moment on, the Andean condor looks for a partner with whom it will share the rest of its life . These raptors owe their monogamy to the slow development of their young, which requires the cooperation of both parents.


The field mice ( Apodemus sylvaticus ) are one of the few species of mouse are among the monogamous animals . The female and the male stay together from the moment they form a couple until one of them dies, having as many young as they can at that time.


The monogamy of wolves is well known, since these animals live and hunt in pairs from the moment they form it. The Canis lupus species is a species of animals with a complex social structure, and although they can have several partners in their life, they will never have more than one at a time.

Learn more about wolves in these other articles on Why the Iberian wolf is in danger of extinction and Why the Mexican gray wolf is in danger of extinction .


The beaver (Castor) is another rodent that is part of the list of monogamous animals . This collaborates with his partner in the work of raising, creating burrows and protecting the young for life. Only when the beaver’s partner dies, it will look for a new one in the colony or group in which it lives, as they are very sociable animals among individuals of the same species.

Mimic poison frog

The venomous mimic rana or Ranitomeya imitator is considered the only monogamous amphibian , and it inhabits the tropical jungles of South America. This occurs because they live in very small ponds, where it is very difficult to get enough nutrients for the young, so both parents need to collaborate.


The seahorse or Hippocampus is another species that shows great fidelity , romantic and extreme. In the mating season at dawn the female dedicates a dance to the male, after which both change color and continue with the courtship. When one of the members of the couple dies, the other does not separate from him, even dying of starvation.

Penguins, other monogamous animals for life

Many penguin species Spheniscidae ) are hunted again each breeding season after spending the winter apart, maintaining their mate for life and helping to protect and feed their young. In fact, trying to woo another penguin’s female will likely end in a confrontation.

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *