euronews/YouTube

A Belgian long-distance racing pigeon named Armando became the most expensive bird ever sold on Monday, after sparking a bidding war between two Chinese buyers competing for the star flyer.


The competitive pigeon racing world stunned everyone on Monday by revealing that there is such a thing as competitive pigeon racing.

But the big story for pigeon racing enthusiasts was the US $1.4 million sale of Armando, Belgian's best long-distance racing homing pigeon.

"Nobody expected this. No one," said Jorge Ferrari of Pigeon Paradise (Pipa.be), the auction site where Armando was sold.

No kidding, Jorge.

This pigeon is worth 1.2 million euros www.youtube.com



A traditional sport in Belgium, Britain, northern France and the Netherlands, homing pigeons are released 100-1,000 kilometers from home and begin their race back. The first pigeon to return is crowned the winner — and in terms of long distance racers, Armando is king.

Pigeon Paradise wrote on their website:

"Earlier this week it became clear that Armando would be the most expensive pigeon ever sold in an online auction. However, no one expected that the magical cap of a million euros would be pulverized."

When the auction began on March 4th, the bid for Armando was at €300,000 (roughly US $343,000). By early last Sunday morning, that figure had already shot up to €532,000. In the final hour of bidding though the price skyrocket to over €1 million after a bidding war broke out between two Chinese fanciers. When the auction was over Armando was sold to the anonymous winning bidder for €1,252,000 (approximately US $1.4 million).

The real winner however might be Armando's owner and breeder, Joel Verschoot. By Sunday, Verschoot had sold 178 pigeons for just over €2.4 million. Along with Armando, Verschoot sold seven of Armando's offspring who went for about €22,000 each.

For a growing number of Chinese enthusiasts pigeons from Belgium, the birthplace of the modern version of the sport, are highly coveted — which may explain the astronomical prices paid for these birds.

Unfortunately, it doesn't explain anything else that's going on here.

While Armando's sale price was certainly eye-popping, most were still trying to absorb the brand new information that competitive pigeon racing even exists.







With pigeons selling for €1.2 million, though, many decided not to question it and instead start looking for a way to get in on the action.









But it's probably going to be pretty tough for the thousands of new pigeon breeders out there now to find any bird that can hold a candle to Armando.







After dropping €1.2 million on a pigeon, Armando's new owner better pray his prized racer stays safe out there.

Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

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