The 'raven queen' who normally 'lives' in the Tower of London is missing.
Fort staff in the British capital fear the bird is dead.
Raven Merlina, who has lived with the group of ravens in the Tower since 2007, has not been seen for several weeks, the
Usually six ravens are permanently in the Tower.
Legend has it that if the birds ever leave, both the fortress and the kingdom will fall.
Seven ravens currently reside in the tower.
Merlina's long absence, according to a Tower spokesman, indicates that the raven has died.
“Merlina was the undisputed ruler of the group. The queen of the ravens. She will be greatly missed by the other ravens, the raven master and all of us in the Tower,” he says.
The Tower of London is a building complex located on the Thames in the heart of London.
The building has served as a fortress, royal palace, state prison, garrison, museum and armory over the centuries.
The adjacent Tower Bridge owes its name to the complex.
Charles II of England is said to have been the first monarch in the seventeenth century to officially determine that the ravens should be kept in the tower at all times.
Centuries later, in the mid-twentieth century, it turned out that only a single raven was left, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered a minimum of six ravens to be made up of the raven population.
In 2018, the Tower started a special breeding program, as it became increasingly difficult to obtain ravens.
Tower staff have said it has no plans to replace Merlina any time soon.