Trumpeter Swan

Bird Mating Strategies

  1. Monogamous Birds
  2. Polygynous Birds
  1. Polyandrous Birds
  2. Promiscuous Birds

The mating system is the underlying social organization of a bird society. Mating Strategies range from pair-bonds formed by Swans like the Trumpeter Swan, which last for many years, to fleeting associations of male and female hummingbirds around a feeding site. The range of mating systems in birds can be divided into a few principle types.

During the breeding season a pair-bond is formed as a result of mating rituals. In most species, the pair-bond lasts as long as both parents cooperate to feed and feed and care for their young. Pair-bonds vary widely in character and duration, however. At one extreme are species such as the Sage Grouse, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and Anna's Hummingbird that barely pair at all; the male and female associate for little than the mating act itself.

Trumpeter Swans

At the other extreme are species such as the Canada Goose that commonly mate for life, remaining together during summer, migration, and winter. Most birds fall between these two extremes, annually forming a pair-bond with the same mate on the same territory but separating sometime after the breeding season to migrate and winter apart from each other. In these species, this attachment may be more to the same territory than to a particular partner.