Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the prettiest bird of all?

A ZOO in Essex is reflecting on a novel way of helping its flamingos multiply their numbers.

The group of flamingos at Colchester Zoo has been given several full length mirrors at the lakeside where they congregate, not to admire their reflections but instead to multiply their numbers.

Mirrors are thought to help encourage flamingos to breed because they don’t normally build nests and lay eggs if they are in groups of less than 30 to 40 birds.

And as there are no surplus Chilean flamingos that can be brought to Colchester Zoo to boost the flock, the mirrors have been installed in the hope that their reflection will convince the birds there are more of them in their group so that they start to show “breeding behaviours”.

Staff are also encouraging the flamingos by giving them a head start and creating mud nests within the enclosure and are hoping it will lead to eggs being successfully laid this year.

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Curator Sarah Forsyth said “The flamingos have reacted very well to the mirrors and are exhibiting positive breeding behaviour with some birds beginning to sit on the nests.

“We very much hope that this will lead to eggs being laid within the next month which would lead to Colchester Zoo breeding flamingos for the first time.”

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