The ruler of the roost at the Tower of London is missing, presumed dead causing upset for staff at the fortress and superstitious tourists.
Merlina the "Queen raven" has not been seen for weeks according to the tower, which has Yeomen fearing the worst.
"Though it isn't unusual for our ravens to roam outside the walls, free-spirited Merlina has previously always returned to the Tower and to the Ravenmaster and his team, with whom she shared a wonderfully close bond," said the Tower.
Having joined the tower in 2007, it is feared that her 14 year reign has come to an end.
"Merlina was our undisputed ruler of the roost, queen of the Tower ravens," said a spokesperson for the castle.
"She will be greatly missed by her fellow ravens, the ravenmaster, and all of us in the Tower community."
The unusual pets have a long history with the Tower with rich, intriguing legend.
A Royal Decree dating back to the 1600s says that the Tower must have no fewer than 6 ravens. Superstition states that if the birds ever left the grounds the castle and the kingdom will fall.
However, the Ravenmaster Christopher Skaife says the staff are not spooked.
"We now have 7 ravens here at the Tower — one more than the required 6, so we don't have any immediate plans to fill Merlina's vacancy," said a statement from the Tower.
The superstition surrounding the jet black birds means that maintaining the flock is of utmost importance.
During the Second World War prime minister Winston Churchill ordered the flock be increased, after bombing left just one solitary raven.
Since 2018 there has been a breeding programme in residence after the birds became increasingly hard to source.
Ravenmaster is an official posting in the Queens Yeomen Warders, whose Tudor costumes are now a spectacle for tourists. Better known as "Beefeaters" – they got this name not for their own taste for roast meat, but because of the tradition of feeding the ravens on cuts of beef.
It is a position that the current Ravenmaster takes very seriously. He has been given time to mourn Melina.
"I know so many of you lovely folk will be saddened by this news," Skaife said in a social media statement.
"None more than me. Please excuse my absence for a few days."