Why do flamingos stand on one leg?

FLAMINGOS are family favourites at zoos across the world thanks to their beautiful colour.

But why do they stand on one leg? Here’s all you need to know….


Flamingos are known for standing on one legCredit: Getty

Why do flamingos stand on one leg? 

The main reason flamingos stand on one leg to avoid muscular fatigue.

This is because flamingos are more stable on one leg over long periods of time than they are on two.

Flamingos can lock the ligaments and tendons in their leg into position and this means it takes no effort to stay still.

Dr Paul Rose, zoologist at the University of Exeter told the BBC: “If you’re a flamingo, you’re going to want to sleep on one leg as you can activate this locking mechanism and just stay there. 

“Sleeping on two legs would mean constantly maintaining your balance.”

However it is thought that there is a second reason flamingos prefer to stand on just one.

Scientists now believe that standing on one leg can help water birds to conserve body heat.

This could help explain why many other bird species stand on just one leg.

How long can flamingos stand on one leg for?

Flamingos are known to stand on one leg for more than four hours at a time and never lose their balance.

They even stand on one leg while they’re sleeping without falling over thanks to their leg’s locking mechanism.

Why are flamingos pink?

Flamingos are best known for the flamboyant spectrum of pink, red and orange colours on their legs, faces and beaks.

And it turns out that flamingos get their unusual colouring because they are what they eat – namely, shrimp, shell-fish, and algae.

A large part of a flamingo’s diet is made up of red and blue-green algae – as well as the fishy part of their diet – all of which contains beta carotene, which has a red-orange pigment called carotenoid.

Their digestive system breaks down the carotene, then the red-orange pigment is broken down in their liver and absorbed into fats.

The stunning private island of Aruba where you can hang out with flamingos

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