Many people are impressed with the Flamingo’s ability to balance its body on a single leg, spindly leg for a long time. They can even balance their body on one leg while they are asleep.
To unlock the flamingo’s mystery the scientists have revealed that what helps them in balancing does not involve any muscle activity. The study was conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology, the US which shows how these pink birds balance on one leg based on the muscle fatigue hypothesis.
According to the muscle fatigue hypothesis, when the animal uses more muscle it becomes tired and hence the animals standing on one leg needs to switch. But in the case of flamingo’s they can balance on one leg for a longer time as holding their leg up does not make them fatigue.
Even a dead flamingo can stand stable on one leg if it is positioned vertically. The research study has been published in the journal Biology Letters. According to Lena Ting, a biomedical engineer at Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology, says there are two reasons due to which these birds manage on one leg. One reason is to preserve the heat which would be lost if both the legs are in cold water. Another reason is to reduce the muscle fatigue and preserve energy.
The two scientists wanted to test whether the flamingo’s can remain stable on one leg without active muscular effort or not. To test this fact, the two dead flamingo’s were taken from the local zoo. The researchers then placed them on one leg using clamps and determined whether they can sustain body weight or not. At the end, they noticed that flamingo could support their body weight on one leg and the bird was unable to stand stable on two legs since it requires more muscular energy.
When flamingo’s stand on one leg their body weight forces the joints into a fix arrangement due to the group of muscles which locks the ligaments into one place. This shows the passive and gravity-induced body weight support mechanism. Not only flamingo’s but other birds like wood ducks and storks also balance efficiently on one leg.