Monday, 12 November 2012

Why do flamingos stand on one leg but have two?

Humphrey Cushion asked me this question and I am going to try and answer it. Thank you Humphrey Cushion and please check out her blog at:

This is a very strange question and I think there probably is an answer. Scientists say that there may not be a simple answer but there are still some theories.

Flamingoes stand on one leg mostly when they are in the water. This may be because they are trying to conserve body heat. If they put both their feet in the water then they would get much colder than if they stand on one leg, they would also get very cold because they spend a lot of time in the water. Flamingos regularly change what leg they stand on in the water so that one foot doesn't get too cold. It's quite clever really!

Flamingos stand on both legs when they eat, but one leg to sleep. This sounds quite strange as you would think that sleeping would require both legs on the ground for balance. Especially as they are practically unconscious when they are asleep!

Fun fact: The colour that a flamingo is comes from the food they eat, including shrimp, which is full of carotenoid pigments (the same thing that makes carrots orange!)

Please comment with questions that you have on your mind and your opinions on this post. Don't forget to vote on the poll! Thank you once again and see you next week for another 'a world away' post!


  1. They probably need two feet when they are eating because they have to put their heads down to get to the food. That makes them more likely to wobble and fall over. Try it!

  2. Maybe they think the ground is really gross. :)

  3. I was at the zoo recently with my daughter and son and we noticed a flamingo that couldn't balance on one leg. They named her Eileen ;)

  4. Another great question that I'd never even thought about!

    I have a question ( dear to my heart - well my head actually!)

    Why do some men go bald and others don't?

  5. Oh - I thought of another question:

    What's the best way to put a duvet cover onto a duvet?