Why flamingoes stand on one leg

August 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
clipped from news.bbc.co.uk


Matt Walker


Editor, Earth News

Galapagos race of Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber ruber) standing on one leg
It is one of the simplest, but most enigmatic mysteries of nature: just why do flamingoes like to stand on one leg?

Now after conducting an exhaustive study of captive Caribbean flamingoes, two scientists believe they finally have the answer.

Flamingoes stand on one leg to regulate their body temperature, they say.

Matthew Anderson and Sarah Williams are comparative psychologists based at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, US who are interested in the studying the evolution of behaviour.

“Flamingoes captured my attention for a variety of reasons,” says Anderson.

“Scientifically speaking, their highly gregarious nature makes them an ideal species for investigating social influences on behaviour.

“Aesthetically speaking, they are large, beautiful, and iconic.

“Perhaps most importantly, I was very surprised to discover how little systematic, hypothesis-driven empirical research had been conducted on flamingoes.”

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