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Why do flamingos stand on one leg?

Why do flamingos stand on one leg?

Although they're not the only birds to balance precariously on a single limb, flamingos are probably the best known for this yoga-like pose.
 
Researchers have been scratching their heads trying to figure out the reason behind this soloed stance and now they think they have an answer . . . thermoregulation.
 
What they found is that flamingos tend to do a lot more one-legged lounging when they are standing in water and when the temperatures are on the colder side. Which makes sense if the birds are trying to maintain their body temperature.
 
You see, a long naked leg exposes lots of skin to cool temps and water, which sucks away heat faster than air. But, if flamingos tuck that same leg up into their down parka of a body, it stays toasty warm.
 
It's likely the behavior also reduces the birds' exposure to things like fungus and parasites in the water.

Last modified onWednesday, 16 March 2016 15:50