The stone-carved Zimbabwe Bird is a national emblem of Zimbabwe, appearing on the national flags and coats of arms of both Zimbabwe and Rhodesia, as well as on banknotes and coins (first on Rhodesian pound and then Rhodesian dollar). It probably represents the bateleur eagle. The famous soapstone bird carvings stood on walls and monoliths of the ancient city of Great Zimbabwe built starting in the 11th century and continuing for over 300 years by ancestors of the Shona. The ruins, which gave their name to modern Zimbabwe, cover some 1,800 acres (7.3 km²) and are the largest ancient stone construction in Zimbabwe.
When the ruins of Great Zimbabwe were discovered by modern civilisation in the late nineteenth century, five of the carved birds they found were taken to South Africa by Cecil Rhodes. Four of the statues were given to Zimbabwe by the South African government at independence, while the fifth remains at Groote Schuur, Rhodes' former home in Cape Town.