North Atlantic right whales usually travel alone or in groups of 2 - 3 (up to about 12). When they were more numerous, groups of up to 100 were seen together on the feeding grounds. If prey are dense, the whales may feed together, although usually the groups break up to feed individually, probably because of the enormous food requirements of each individual whale. The membership of groups of right whales does not seem to remain fixed. Identifiable individuals can be seen moving from one group to another.
A calf and its mother appear to exhibit the same type of bonding behavior that is typical of other mammals. The calf maintains close contact with its mother, swimming up on her back or butting her with its head. The mother may roll over on her back and hold her calf in her flippers.
An individual female mates with multiple males. Apparently, mating pairs do not establish long-term social bonds.