Known as one the most fierce and bad-tempered fighters of the Northlands, General Ironbeak was a large male black raven and the commander of an army of raven, crows, rooks, and magpies. Though intelligent in his own right, he rarely made any action without first consulting his crow seer, Mangiz.
General Ironbeak grew tired of the cold Northlands, and traveled south to Mossflower Woods. There he saw Redwall Abbey and sought to conquer it. He began to do so, first infiltrating Warbeak Loft and slaying the old and baby sparrows (the others were on a mission with Warbeak to bring a scroll to Matthias). Ironbeak tried to capture Baby Rollo but was driven off by Sister May.
Ironbeak later managed to kidnap Rollo, along with Mrs. Churchmouse and Cornflower. He delivered an ultimatum to the Abbeybeasts: total surrender of the Abbey for the return of the hostages. Abbot Mordalfus bought some time and the Abbey dwellers began to devise a plan. They captured Quickbill, Brightback, and Diptail, three magpies who foraged from the Abbey orchard to feed Ironbeak's flock. Ironbeak consigned to return Cornflower, Mrs. Churchmouse, and Rollo, if the Abbey beasts returned his magpies. While the exchange was taking place, however, Ironbeak's army stocked up on supplies and infiltrated the Infirmary and the dormitories.
Dismayed by Ironbeak's one-by-one method of taking the Abbey, the Redwallers retreated to Cavern Hole and blockaded themselves in. Foremole and his mole crew dug tunnels to different locations in the Abbey, including the gatehouse. Meanwhile Mangiz, the crow seer, realized the influence Martin the Warrior had over the Abbey and advised Ironbeak to steal the tapestry hanging in the Great Hall. Quickbill and his magpies were instructed to steal the tapestry, but the Abbey beasts intervened and drove the birds off.
Cornflower and the badger Constance put together a plan for lowering the birds' morale. Cornflower dressed in Martin the Warrior's armor and showed herself to two rook guards, Ragwing and Grubclaw, while Constance called out in a spooky voice, then anonymously disappeared using Foremole's tunnels and a black curtain. The rooks were afraid, as this "warrior mouse ghost" was the same one that was clouding Mangiz the seer's visions. Ironbeak did not believe in the ghost, and punished anybody who talked about it.
Constance was the most-feared Redwall defender among the birds. While Constance was putting the armor away in the gatehouse, Ironbeak saw his chance to put her out of action and locked her in the gatehouse. He then led the birds' final charge into Cavern Hole and took the Abbey denizens captive. He was on the brink of killing Sister May when Stryk Redkite, a large red kite that had been injured and healed by the Redwallers, appeared. Stryk immediately saw that her friend Sister May was being attacked, rushed to defend her and slew Ironbeak in a great airborne fight by striking at him. Mangiz the crow tried to rally the rooks, but was killed by Constance, who had broken down the gatehouse door, with a hefty blow. The other rooks were allowed to go free but were given heavy collars to slow them down.
Personality and Traits
Ironbeak was undoubtedly cruel and selfish. He also appears to have had an conceited side as well, as he constantly remarked about what a great fighter he was, though, in fact, he was a relatively weak fighter. Despite their fierce reputation, Ironbeak and his troops were easily overpowered by a handful of mice with staves. Ironbeak himself was injured by a young girl mouse, armed with nothing more than a basket. The physical weakness of Ironbeak and his minions perhaps owed to the fact that they never seemed to do any training, instead spending all of their time eating and sleeping. Despite these traits Ironbeak was also very cunning and savage, but also very arrogant believing himself to be a great fighter and calling mice, otters and other woodlanders "earthcrawlers".
In the Redwall TV Series, Ironbeak wore a metal helmet to distinguish him from the other birds.