Denise Goldberg's blog

Friday, February 17, 2006

Standing on one leg

I found the flamingos at the San Diego Zoo fascinating. They are beautiful birds, but why do they stand on one leg? They are so tall, you'd think a single-legged stance would cause a balance problem. It doesn't appear to, and they even add a twist for sleeping - standing on one leg plus wrapping their neck (with head attached, of course!) around their very pink bodies.

One of my work colleagues helped find an answer - or maybe I should call it a non-answer - by checking Google. Several answers to the question "Why do flamingos stand on one leg?" can be found at The answers vary from comfort, blood pressure, body heat (do you suppose that less heat is really lost in cold water if only one foot is in the water?), to the suggestion that the one-legged stance is a camouflage technique. I'm not sure I believe any of these answers - in fact, maybe the answer is simply "because they can!".

Many thanks are due to the flamingos at the San Diego Zoo for happily posing for these pictures!

A one-legged stance, calm and quiet

Ah, time to sleep - still on one leg, but with head and neck resting curled around body. And yes, there really are 5 birds in this picture.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.