Racing pigeon
Racing pigeons big business in China and Taiwan (Reuters)

A pigeon named Bolt has been sold for $400,000 (£263,000), making it the world's most expensive racing bird in the world.

Bolt the pigeon was bought by a Chinese businessman from his Belgian breeder through auction house Pina.

The one-year-old bird was named after the world-record holding sprinter Usain Bolt.

Nikolaas Gyselbrecht, chief executive of the auction house, said he was stunned by the prices being offered for Bolt. "It was pretty clear something special would happen," he said.

In total, the 530 pigeons from Leo Heremans' coop sold in the auction raised $5.58m - double the previous record set for pigeons.

"You can compare it to artwork. A painting made by Picasso is worth more than one made by an unknown artist. It's the same with this pigeon," he told Reuters.

The last world record for a pigeon price was in 2011, when Blue Prince from Belgium sold for $200,000.

Nine of the top 10 birds on sale were bought by people from China and Taiwan. Gyselbrecht said the prices reached were a result of the breeder's reputation and the financial strength of the bidders.

Bolt was picked as Belgium's National Ace speed young bird last year. He will not race again in China and instead will be used for breeding.

"He's had his last competitive flight already," Gyselbrecht said.