'If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall...'
Update 14 December: In line with government guidance, the Tower of London will be closed from 16 December.
Meet the famous ravens at the Tower of London and learn more about why they are known as the guardians of the Tower, at their lodgings on the South Lawn.
The names of our current Tower ravens are Jubilee, Harris, Gripp, Rocky, Erin, Poppy and Merlina. Ravens are intelligent birds and each of ours has its own personality; they can mimic sounds, play games and solve problems. See if you can spot some of their fascinating behaviour on your visit.
It is said that the kingdom and the Tower of London will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. There are seven ravens at the Tower today — the required six, plus one spare!
Charles II is thought to have been the first to insist that the ravens of the Tower be protected after he was warned that the crown and the Tower itself would fall if they left.
The King's order was given against the wishes of his astronomer, John Flamsteed, who complained the ravens impeded the business of his observatory in the White Tower.
The ravens are free to roam the Tower precincts during the day and preside over four different territories within the Tower's walls.
You might even be lucky enough to witness the ravens snacking — but please be careful and do not feed the ravens yourself, as they can bite if they feel their territory is being threatened.
These magnificent birds respond only to the Ravenmaster and should not be approached too closely by anyone else.
Find out what our ravens have been up to during lockdown and why they are looking forward to seeing you soon!
The Ravenmaster occasionally trims some of the ravens' primary and secondary flight feathers to encourage them to stay at the Tower. All the Tower ravens are able to fly but, with careful feather management, plenty of food and a comfortable new enclosure, they are happy to call the Tower their home.
However, some ravens have gone absent without leave in the past and others have even been sacked. Raven Muninn flew off to Greenwich and was eventually returned by a vigilant member of the public after seven days. Raven George was dismissed for eating television aerials and Raven Grog was last seen outside an East End pub.
The ravens are fed twice a day by our Ravenmaster and dine on a special diet of mice, chicks, rats and assorted raw meats. As a special treat, they are given biscuits soaked in blood.
Discover the stories of the ravens at the Tower of London as told by our resident Ravenmaster, Chris Skaife.
Meet the four raven chicks that were born as part of the Tower of London's breeding programme in 2019, in this short video.