A Chinese zoo has managed to persuade its lonely flamingos to breed - by surrounding their cage in Shenzhen Wild Animal Zoo, with mirrors to make it seem as if they are in a colony.
Zoo spokesman Zhang Lu said: "In the wild they live in large flocks and when they are separated they become depressed and anxious, and they certainly don't feel confident enough to have chicks.
"But this year we had two new flamingo chicks, making 19 new flamingos born in the zoo since we started using mirrors.
"We got the birds in 1993 from Japan but they didn't breed it all and we were told by experts that we didn't have enough of them to make them feel as if they were a real flamingo colony.
"In total we fitted 45 feet of mirrors, each over 3 foot high, and it was amazing to see the change in the flamingos. They were much more animated and alive and ate more and the real proof was that we have chicks from 2003 when we installed the mirrors."
Flamingos live a similar lifespan to man with the oldest recorded flamingo being 77 years old and living at Adelaide zoo in Australia.
Showing little sign of the good looking bird it will become this pretty flamingo photographed this week is one of 17 chicks hatched out recently at Vienna's Schoenbrunn zoo - where with over 100 flamingos there is no need to resort to mirrors.
The stunted wings, stubby legs and grey down will be replaced eventually with the pink feathers of its parents by the time its three, but until then this chick is enjoying life with the other youngsters in the zoo.
As soon as flamingo chicks are old enough to leave the nest they gather together in nurseries with other chicks were the entire colony takes care to make sure they are fed and protected.
Zoo boss Dagmar Schratter said that amazingly no matter how large the colony the parents always manage to find their grey roly-poly youngster without any difficulty.