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Bolt the pigeon has become the world's most expensive racing bird, having been sold for $400,000 to a Chinese businessman. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press)

Lightning fast pigeon Bolt, with a name and pedigree to match, has become the world's most expensive racing bird with his Belgian breeder selling it for $400,000 to a Chinese businessman.

Belgian-bred pigeons have a worldwide reputation for being the fastest around, yet the record prize surprised anyone involved in the sport, auction house Pipa said.

Pipa CEO Nikolaas Gyselbrecht said Tuesday he was "stunned by the prices offered" in the auction of 530 birds which also yielded a world record of $5.58 million. Nine of the 10 top birds went to China or Taiwan.

The previous record for a sale of a single bird stood at $322,000. Top birds after sale are traditionally used for breeding only.