Mating Systems of Birds
Most species of animals have some constant mating habits that help us understand their species better. Wolves for example utilize extreme monogamous relationships. With them mate for life to the point that if one mate dies the other mate will not take a new mate. Lions on the other hand utilize a polygamy mating system with one male and several females. Birds though are so unique in this that each species of birds are different in how they mate. In fact there are four types of mating systems among birds that we know of. Each mating system is widely unique across the board.
Monogamous birds are the ones that stay with the same mate during the breeding cycle. In some instances two birds will breed again during another breeding cycle. However, in most cases monogamous birds will breed with a new bird during the next mating season. Some birds such as swans and geese will mate for life. This life mating is different from that of wolves. When two birds mate for life it is more of a till death do us part type mating. Let on mate die and the surviving mate is off to find a new mate.
Other species of birds use polygamy mating systems. These birds will stay mated with some commitment throughout one breeding cycle. A male bird will stay mating during the breeding cycle to several females. During the next breeding cycle the same male bird will usually have several different females. This is a small commitment that is made on the part of the male bird to each female he is mating with during that breeding cycle.
Another mating system among species of birds is the polyandrous mating system. This is similar to the polygamy mating system in that one bird will have several mates during the breeding cycle. However, in this instance it is the female that will take several mates for one breeding cycle. As with the polygamy mating system the female will make a small commitment to the males she is mating with during that breeding cycle. The next breeding cycle will see her with different male mates.
The most extreme mating among some species of birds is the promiscuous mating system. There is no commitment among any partner during a breeding cycle. A female or male bird will mate with any other bird during the breeding cycle. These seem to be just random encounters that can be most likened to the human one night stands.
As with any species of animals it comes down to procreation. Each species of birds will utilize a different mating system with one thing in common though and that is procreation. It is possible to witness an individual bird acting out of character for its species. The above mating systems are systematic with the norm and not concrete for the individual. With the norms of a species it makes understanding the breeding habits of the species and not the individual bird easier to predict.