• A star racing pigeon named Armando has fetched a record €1.25 million in an online auction.
  • The prized bird — Belgian’s best long-distance racer of all time according to those in the know — was snapped up by a Chinese buyer for a princely sum that caused a flutter of excitement among fanciers.
  • Armando had been expected to break the previous record of €3,76,000 ($4,25,000) paid for a pigeon called Nadine — but not by such a wide margin.
  • Armando would be the most expensive pigeon ever sold in an online auction.
  • Homing pigeons are raced by releasing them sometimes hundreds of km from home, with the first back home winning.
  • Racing them is a tradition in Belgium, Britain, northern France and the Netherlands, although it has been going into decline.
  • But interest from Asian buyers in recent years has given the practice a new lease of life.