Nobody knows exactly why flamingos like standing on just one leg so much, but scientists have a couple of ideas. The most likely reason is that it helps the beautiful birds to stay warm and conserve body heat. Because they stand in water a lot of the time, flamingos are likely to lose body heat faster than those of us who don’t spend a lot of time standing in water. Using just one leg lessens the amount of heat they lose to the cold water.
Some other ideas about why they stand on one leg include preventing tissue damage or germs that they might pick up from the cold water they stand in, and preventing their muscles from getting tired by using just one leg at a time!
ExplorationFun with Flamingos!
Have you ever been told “you are what you eat”? With flamingos, this is particularly true! Flamingos get their pink color from their diet of pink shrimp-like critters. Flamingos who don’t have their natural supply of crustaceans in their diet turn pale!
Do your best impression of a flamingo standing on one leg and feeding. What’s the hardest part of your flamingo pose? Balancing? The strength needed to rely on one leg? Or, do you find the flamingo stance pretty easy to maintain??
Sources & links
“Greater Flamingo.” Animals. National Geographic Society. 21 Mar. 2011 Walker, Matt. “Why flamingos stand on one leg.” Earth News. 13 Aug. 2009. British Broadcasting Corporation. 21 Mar. 2011 Thompson, Andrea. “Why Flamingos Stand On One Leg.” 17 Sep. 2009. LiveScience. 21 Mar. 2011