Indonesian pigeon sells for $100,000 amid national racing boom

Indonesian pigeon sells for $100,000 amid national racing boom


A pigeon named Jayabaya has become the most expensive bird ever sold in Indonesia. A racing pigeon in Indonesia has been sold for 1 billion rupiah ($101,700), breaking the national record for the most expensive bird ever sold in the country.

The male pigeon, named Jayabaya, was bought by Robby Eka Wijaya in the town of Cilodong in West Java to compete in Indonesia’s booming pigeon races.

Mr Wijaya bought the pigeon from his colleague after watching it compete in a number of different competitions.

He told the ABC he made an offer the owner could not refuse because the pigeon had “special features”, including a rare consistency and “stable mood”.

“One race can last over two days and nine rounds. Often birds can only perform for four rounds, but this bird is able to get into the top 20 at every competition,” he said.

Jayabaya competed against thousands of birds from across the country last year and received the highest score in the national competition, according to Mr Wijaya.

Pigeon racing is a traditional sport in Indonesia, mainly from the island of Java, but it has rapidly gained popularity ever since the creation of a national pigeon organisation.

Robby Eka Wijaya holds a sign of the pigeon he had just purchased named Jayabaya. The type of competition varies and includes speed racing, freestyle flying, as well as a table category, where the pigeons are expected to land back on a table at a certain time after flying.

In order to get Jayabaya to return during a competition, its owner calls out for him with his “girlfriend”, a female pigeon which shares the same cage as him, which Mr Wijaya says is a common practice.

“From what I’ve observed in the past 10 years, there are only two or three birds that are like him,” he said, adding that his friends has questioned his sanity over the amount he paid.

The popularity of pigeon racing in Indonesia has been partly attributed to high profit margins. Pigeons cost around 20,000 rupiah ($2) and the winnings can range from $7,500 to $10,000, or even a brand new car.

The registration cost to compete is also relatively low at a mere $13 to $16, according to the organisation of High Pigeon Fans Indonesia (PMTI).

However, Indonesian newspaper Kompas reports that the average participant pigeon racing competitions are anywhere between 1,500 to 2,000 people, making reaching the top 20 a feat in itself.

Mr Wijaya said it would be “easy” to be able to generate profit off Jayabaya, who is estimated to be two to three years old.

“There is already someone who is willing to spend 100 million rupiah ($10,200) for a set of eggs he fathers, but I won’t sell it,” he said.

In March this year, a Chinese buyer bought a racing pigeon for 1.252 million Euros ($1.98 million) during a pigeon auction by a Belgian breeder, the most expensive pigeon of all time.

The pigeon, named Armando, was described as the Lewis Hamilton of racing pigeons and holds a variety of records including best one day long distance pigeon in Belgium.

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