Tag Archives: feeding in water

Why the flamingo stands on one leg

Just read a fascinating article about flamingos, and the physics behind that odd, one legged stance. Apparently, all warm blooded creatures lose more body heat in water than in air, so for an animal like the flamingo that feeds on bottom dwelling creatures like crustaceans, the longer it can stay in the water the more it can eat. Therefore…standing on one leg reduces heat loss which then allows them to feed for longer.

But the truly fascinating part is that standing on one leg is a learned behaviour. Mother flamingos teach their young all sorts of social behaviours, including that tricky skill of standing on one leg. The picture below shows a couple of flamingo chicks practising how to ‘dance’ like the adults:

(Credit: Tambako The Jaguar/flickr)

Oh, and that bright pink colour? Apparently that comes from the flamingo’s diet. 🙂

If you’re interested in why things are the way they are, I’d highly recommend reading the whole article: https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/flamingos-stand-on-just-one-leg-and-physics-is-the-surprising-reason-why-c3fac3514cc1

Have a great week,

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