Armando, A Belgian racing pigeon has become the most expensive bird of all time after being sold at three times the world record in an auction to an anonymous Chinese buyer.
Sold through the Pigeon Paradise (Pipa.be) an auction website for pigeon sport, the five-year-old Armando fetched more than $1.4 million beating the existing record of $426,000 after nearly two weeks of bidding.
Popularly known as the Lewis Hamilton of racing pigeons in reference to the Formula One Racing Driver, the bird is said to be the best long-distance racing pigeon of all time in the history of the sport and one of its kind.
A few minutes into the bidding, Armando’s price rose to more than $340,000 before hitting than $567,000 on the last day, in furious bidding with Chinese enthusiasts for long-distance racing of homing pigeons driving up the prices sharply.
Armando had admirers eying her. According to Pigeon Paradise website, she is the best of her kind in the history of the sport.
“This type of champion is rarely offered for sale,” the site said.
Pigeon racing has become increasingly popular in parts of China among the country’s elite and its middle class. The next most expensive bird after Armando is said to be Nadine, which fetched more than $450,000 at auction in 2017 and was bought by a Chinese fancier according to media reports.
Armando’s breeder, Joel Verschoot, who put her up for auction, sold a total of 178 pigeons at auction for more than $2.5 million, including seven of Armando’s offspring. He also sold a bird named Contador, which fetched more than $225,000 from the online auction.
There at least 100,00 pigeon breeders in Beijing with almost 90,000 of registered with Racing Pigeons Associations in different levels, to qualify for the games held in the spring and autumn according to Sun Yan, the deputy general-secretary of Beijing Changing District Racing Pigeons Association.