Washington: Ever wondered why flamingos are often seen standing on one leg? Well, scientists believe that the posture might be used by the birds to conserve body heat.
Lead researcher Matthew Anderson, a psychologist at Saint Joseph`s University in Philadelphia, said scientists have suggested that one-legged posture helped reduce muscle fatigue and that it was important to thermoregulation, or the maintenance of body temperature went on to test the ideas.
During the study, Anderson and his colleagues observed a captive flock at the Philadelphia Zoo.
They looked at the flamingos and timed how long it took for them to start moving from both unipedal and bipedal resting positions.
He said if the theory was correct, the birds should take their first steps faster coming from the unipedal position, but birds were faster off the block when they had been standing on both legs, ruling out that theory.
While testing for thermoregulation to the test, the team noted the temperature and weather conditions when the flamingos were resting.
They found that when it was warmer, more birds would stand on two feet, while in cooler weather, more favored the one-legged stance.
Anderson said flamingos spend most of their time in the water, and water causes them to lose body heat more rapidly.
"The water just pulls away the body heat really, really quickly," Live Science quoted Anderson as saying.
"So [the flamingo] really needs as much heat saving as it can possibly get," he added. He said the study shows that thermoregulation is a key reason behind the iconic flamingo stance.