When you think of the crimson pink Flamingos, the first thing that comes into your mind must be their one-legged perch! Amazingly, Flamingos stand on one leg to have half of their body rested while the other half active, and they swap legs when the side of their body is well-rested.
In fact, more muscles are used standing on two legs than one — therefore standing on one leg is certainly more comfortable for them.
Did you know? A Flamingo can stand on one leg for four hours! They can even do it while asleep. Meanwhile, I’m already struggling to stand on one foot for a few seconds.
Apparently, the balancing stance requires less work from the muscles and prevents the Flamingos from swaying too much. These birds make use of gravity by positioning themselves in place such that minimal muscle activity is required. Interestingly, Flamingos cannot stay in a stable and balanced position while standing on both legs.
Scientists have also uncovered the theory of conserving body heat. Flamingos stand on one leg to regulate their body temperature — since having both legs in the water result in a greater loss of body heat.
How it works.
If you look at the image of the Flamingo above you’ll see some arrow indicators. The red arrow is pointing to the ankle (that I assumed was the knee initially) of a Flamingo while the yellow arrow points to where the knee of a Flamingo is.
Technically, half of the Flamingo’s legs are actually its feet and the Flamingo is performing a tip-toe stance (I can’t even tiptoe more than a few moments without getting a leg cramp)!
When a Flamingo lifts up one of its legs and pulls it in, the pulled-in leg automatically shifts to position itself right under the center of the body. Then, the Flamingo pushes itself forward so that the center of its mass shifts to the front of its hidden knee — hence keeping itself balanced while standing on one leg.
You are what you eat.
In case you didn’t know, Flamingo babies aren’t pink!
They start off as a shade of misty grey and will not turn pink for a year or two. However, they gradually turn pink due to their diet. Flamingos mostly feed on blue-green algae and brine shrimp which contains a natural pink dye called canthaxanthin. Then, their parents’ upper digestive tracts produce a type of crop milk that is also pink in colour to feed their babies, which colours their body.
This also means that their pink hue will fade if they consume less of the food with canthaxanthin.
Here’s a short clip on how the these babies turn pink:
Source: YouTube, BBC
Since we are on the topic of flamingos, I’ll end off with a punny reminder: if you are facing any sort of dilemma (small or big) in your life right now… Don’t be like a Flamingo. Put your foot down (to take a firm stand) and be tough!
Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great day ahead.
— All gifs adapted from giphy.com–