'If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall...'
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.
Discover the stories of the ravens at the Tower of London as told by our resident Ravenmaster, Chris Skaife.
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.
Meet our four new raven chicks, born as part of the Tower of London's breeding programme in 2019, in this short video.
Proud parents Huginn and Muninn welcomed their four healthy chicks into the world in April 2019. The chicks were the first ravens to be hatched at the Tower in 30 years.
Huginn and Muninn arrived at the Tower at the end of 2018 and in mid-April our Ravenmaster noticed they had built a large nest overnight. Within only a few weeks he could hear the sound of chirruping chicks.
The chicks are currently feeding at least every two hours during this growth development stage. The parents work as a team: the male, Huginn, prepares the food and then passes it to the mother, Muninn, who then gives it to the chicks. They have a varied diet of quail, mice and rats, provided to them by the Ravenmaster.
Already, in the last three weeks, the chicks have grown rapidly, having quadrupled in size from hatchlings around 8cm tall to over 30cm and they even have their recognisable iridescent black plumage coming through, although it will take almost a year for their beaks to turn from pink to black.
One of the chicks will stay at the Tower and it will join the other ravens later in the summer, when it is older.
As the ravens started to hatch on the 23 April, St George's Day, the raven that will be staying at the Tower will be called George or Georgina in honour of the occasion.