Finally, the mystery has been solved. The BBC reports today that scientists have found out why flamingos stand on one leg. Previous theories suggested that a single-legged stance helped reduce fatigue, and/or it helped flamingos escape from predators more quickly, by shortening the time to take flight. And do flamingos favor their right or left leg? Is there such a thing as a right-legged or left-legged flamingo, a bit like being right or left-handed?
Well, recent empirical evidence suggests that flamingos stand on one leg to conserve body heat. If they put two legs in the water, rather than one, they would lose too much heat. Flamingos spend a lot of time wading, so this one-legged stance is particularly beneficial to them. There's also no such thing as a south-paw (leg) in the flamingo world, they change legs willy-nilly.
For more on this story, check out this BBC's report.
Image of a Flamingo Sleeping On One Leg -- Getty Images/Chuck Eckert