By Ashley Hoffman
March 19, 2019

Don’t bet against the high-flying lifestyle of rare bird and sports.

A buyer has bid more than $1.4 million for a champion Belgian racing pigeon in a sale, according to the auction house Pipa, which oversaw the online auction for the rare bird.

This regal, emerald green-feathered bird is no regular pigeon you would frequent on the street — as you probably imagined.

In fact, lest you underestimate the athleticism of the mighty bird named “Armando,” look no further than this endorsement.

Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, the founder and chief executive of Pipa, told the Press Association: “This pigeon has a race record that has never been matched by any other pigeon.”

“In football terms you have Messi and Ronaldo – it’s that level.”

The praise for “Armando” continued from there.

PIPA

“This is a crowning glory of all those years in the pigeon sport. The icing on the cake,” Joël Verschoot said of the unique bird he put up for auction, according to the Guardian.

Indeed, Armando is apparently a champ who really goes the distance.

As to why a bird fetched such a high price, it comes down to Armando’s particular knack for the long-distance competition in China, where bird racing is a popular draw.

Bird owners can win plenty of their money back by betting on the correct winged competitor, with prizes in the tens of thousands of dollars.

That being said, your typical racer bird fetches $2,838, according to the BBC.

“This type of champion is rarely offered for sale,” according to the auction site. The high price leapt from $600,000 to $1.4 million in the final moments of bidding, according to the auction site, which features a close-up snapshot of the bird’s eye for reasons unknown.

Go Armando.

Write to Ashley Hoffman at Ashley.Hoffman@time.com.

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