It’s such a simple thing, but it’s also nature’s most mysterious thing, why only flamingos stand on one leg?
This question of zoo visitors is similar to that of biologists. While many theories have been put forward, no one has been able to provide the most reasonable explanation.
Several theories have been put forward about the passive mechanism of this position that allows the flamingo to fall asleep and still stand. A few other theories focus on the ability to regulate body temperature.
To find out the answer to this beautiful bird’s confusing standing posture, a group of scientists did quite strange experiments, not only with normal birds but also on dead ones. Amazingly, they discovered that only dead flamingos could stand on one leg without any outside support.
Finally, they discovered that healthy flamingos had very limited movement when standing in this position, except for some simple activities such as calling or preening their wings. This minimizes direct stress on the joint and also reduces the need for muscle mass, which means less energy for the body.
An experimental psychologist specializing in animal behavior also once conducted a study showing that this bird adopts an unusual posture to conserve heat . Additionally, his research team has found that the number of birds resting on one leg decreases as temperatures rise.
Flamingos stand on one leg. (Photo: BBC).
Matthew Anderson and Sarah Williams draw on the comparison of psychologists at Saint-Joseph University in Philadelphia, USA, interested in the evolution of flamingo behaviors.
“ Flames caught my attention for a variety of reasons .” Anderson said. “Scientifically speaking, their socialization is ideal for research and social investigations, influencing behavior . Aesthetically, they are large, beautiful and exemplary.”
Anderson and Williams began their research from the far more advanced flamingos: they show a preference for body parts, the response of the organs they use to perform tasks, as a human being, can only be either right-handed or left-handed.
They found that flamingos preferred to turn their heads to one side rather than the other, and flamingos pointed their heads in the direction of their attack.
The study was mainly to show why flamingos prefer to stand on one foot over the other and have since gradually stood on one leg everywhere.
To investigate, Anderson and Williams spent several months observing the habits of Caribbean flamingos (Captive Caribbean flamingos) at the Philadelphia Zoo, Pennsylvania, each of which would be marked for easy identification.
At first, they investigated whether standing on one leg would help birds reduce fatigue or help them get rid of predators faster by shortening the time it takes to soar.
Both of the above theories are considered as the reason for the one-legged flamingo.
Scientists have cited some habits as benefits of standing on one leg, as studies have shown flamingos stand longer, so have more energy to move forward after resting. resting on one leg rather than after resting on two legs.
Birds have also shown that they prefer to stand on one foot rather than the other . And also does not rule out the possibility that standing on one leg helps birds better balance in windy conditions, another opinion has been raised.
Flamingos love to live in groups. (Photo: Amazonaws).
However, in a report in the Journal Zoo Biology , the scientists also said that when standing in water, flamingos prefer to stand on one leg more than when standing on land.
In short, the birds stand on one leg to conserve their body temperature . If they put two feet in the water, they will lose more heat than one foot, especially when they have to spend a lot of time wading in the water.
“ The final results provide evidence that standing on one leg is a resting principle of flamingos ,” asserts Anderson.
Birds also have the ability to alternate when their feet are standing to prevent one leg from becoming too cold. “If they stand on one leg for too long, they’re in great danger of bodily harm and potentially loss of cells in extreme cold,” Anderson said.
The researchers don’t trust other theories, such as that standing on one leg helps flamingos improve blood circulation by limiting the impact on their circulatory system. But they don’t rule out the idea that there are other benefits beyond keeping body temperature.
Other birds such as herons, storks, ducks and many others also often stand on one foot in the water, possibly for the same reason as flamingos.