Ah yes! Those pink rose birds with thin legs, duck-like feet, and long beaks. They are one of the most beautiful birds you may encounter, especially because of their color. But that is not only why we are talking about these pink birds today. No, we have some other questions to answer. One of those has to do with a particular behavior when resting. So why do flamingos stand on one leg and what are the possible explanations for this conduct? And what it has to do with us shivering when going out of the water? We can be sure this is not a posture they do just for showing off their beauty. It could be way more than that and it might be as important as eating.
Are flamingos still awake when resting?
Let’s start with a weird one. If you look closely when they are resting, they do not look like a normal animal sleeping. Funny enough, the flamingo is another one of those animals that can half-sleep. This means they are still aware of their environment while resting. So, are flamingos still awake when resting?
In a word, no. They are still resting. But they are aware of their surroundings. While doing so, if something changes like, for instance, an attack from a predator.
This situation may also explain why do flamingos stand on one leg. Having half of the brain working could trigger an automatic response. One would come closer to the body, while the other supports the weight of the bird. Apparently, this is way better to maintain the balance than being on their two feet.
This theory however has not been properly proven. It is assumed that flamingos do the same as many other species of animals. Birds, especially those who do the exact same thing when resting.
There are theories that try to explain this behavior, one of which has to do with body temperature regulation.
Can flamingos lose heat while standing on one leg in the water?
If you have a computer, a car, or something with a radiator, you should know by now that water(although a coolant should be the choice in the second one) is good at cooling off high temperatures. Maybe that is why we enjoy a nice and cool glass of it when the summer is hot.
However, when the water is around us and we go out from a pool or the beach, you may start to shiver, right? You are losing heat the moment you get inside the water and, when getting out, the air will contribute to that as well.
But what about flamingos? Can flamingos lose heat while on water? And why they choose to be on water or close to it when going to sleep?
Turns out, when you ask why do flamingos stand on one leg, this may be one of the answers: Body temperature regulation. This is a fancy name which literally means the flamingos are trying to get cozy by getting one leg up.
If you think about, that is genius. Even when they are on water, having a leg raised up can contribute to keep a good body temperature because they are avoiding losing too much heat when both legs are down.
It is not perfect, but it is very similar to us when with get a blanket to cover us entirely, but we throw out one foot. This may be is not intentional at all, just a response from our nervous system to get nice and balanced temps for our body. Fairly similar to the half sleep state on these birds.
Why do flamingos stand on one leg? Why are they rose?
This is an interesting one. And while this may not contribute as much for an answer to why do flamingos stand on one leg, we may just go to get an answer to this question: Why flamingos are rose?
Fun fact? The flamingos are not born with red, pink, or rose feathers. In the most generic colors of the spectrum, their feathers are normally white or gray colored when they are born. It is very similar on what we see with the ugly duck in certain kids’ book, that turned out to be a swan.
The thing that makes flamingos go pink are some chemicals in their food called carotenoids. Yeah, the same components of food like tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, salmons and lobsters that give them their peculiar colors. In the case of flamingos, they obtain the pigments while eating shrimp, algae and small crustaceans when they are in their flocks.
These birds would start to eat that food and gain the characteristic pink color while growing up, and the carotenoids would help their immune systems to deal with many illnesses and issues. So, as the famous natural historian Sir David Attenborough puts it: “A pink bird is also a healthy bird”, and he knows a thing or two about birds and many other animals.
To wrap things up, why do flamingos stand on one leg? Some say that it is because of the half-sleep state they enter when they go to rest. The automatic response of having half brain working is to raise one of their legs. After all, the balance they have with just one leg is exceptional compared to sleeping with both on the ground.
Another theory is that other birds doing the same thing to save heat and regulate their body temperatures. It makes sense when you have a bird that is mostly sleeping closer or on the water. Water can rob them of their precious body temperatures quite easily.
Either way, they have their reasons to be standing up in one leg when sleeping. These are amazing pink birds to watch and they are so pretty to look at. Don’t you wish that one day they would suddenly just appear in your area and stay for a while?