Can Seagulls Eat Chocolate? (What about other birds)

No day at the harbor or beach holiday is complete without seagulls. Especially around places where people eat; these birds often display very intrusive and aggressive behavior, sometimes going so far as to swoop down and steal a snack directly out of your hand. But are seagulls even able to digest everything they attain in their raids?

Can seagulls eat chocolate? Unfortunately not. Just because seagulls like to eat everything they see human beings enjoy, does not mean that it is good for them, and chocolate is among the human food items that are toxic to birds. 

QUIZ: Seagull Quiz – Hold On To Your Lunch!

Can seagulls eat chocolate
Can seagulls eat chocolate?

Chocolate, even in small doses, can cause vomiting and diarrhea in birds. What is even more dangerous is that, since it contains caffeine and theobromine, it can result in an increased heart rate, hyperactivity, tremors, and seizures, and even lead to the death of the seagull.

Theobromine is also found in some soft drinks and teas, so be careful to not let an overly cheeky seagull take a sip of these when you are sitting on the terrace of a seaside cafe.  

Since gulls can unhinge their jaws they can consume items that look at the first glance too big for them, which makes them potential thieves for any kind of food item you carry with you. 

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What Not To Feed Wild Birds? 

Even though it is beloved by health-conscious humans, you should never feed avocado to a bird. Especially the leaves of an avocado plant, but also other parts, contain a fatty acid called persin which is known to cause heart failure and difficulty breathing in birds and can also lead to sudden death. 

While most vegetables are good for birds, you should never feed a bird onion and garlic. Onions contain sulfur compounds that will irritate a bird’s mouth and crop and can cause ulcers. It can even lead to the rupture of red blood cells which would cause anemia. Anemia is also a risk for a bird consuming garlic because it contains the chemical allicin. When you would like to treat a bird to something spicy, a bit of hot pepper is a much better idea than onion or garlic! 

You most likely already know that you are not supposed to feed ducks and geese with bread. The same is true for all birds. While bread is not directly toxic, it also contains close to none of the nutrients a bird needs while nevertheless filling its stomach. The result is a bird that is not hungry enough to eat actually healthy food, so it can basically starve with a full stomach. 

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When you have a pet bird that is allowed to fly around your house, you should make sure that it does not discover your stack of sugar-free candy or gum. These things are often sweetened with an artificial sweetener called xylitol that is not only toxic to birds but also other animals like dogs. 

Just because birds cannot handle artificial sweeteners does not mean that you should give them a lot of sugar-heavy treats, of course! For a healthy and happy bird feed it according to what would be the responsible thing for humans to eat, too: not a lot of sugar, salt, or fat. A piece of sweet fruit is a delicious and risk-free treat for your pet – but be careful to not let them eat the fruit pits or apple seeds since these contain a small amount of cyanide. 

Are There Different Breeds of Seagulls? 

Yes, there are! Actually, there is no breed that is actually called seagulls, they are simply called gulls and do not only live at the seaside. Gulls exist on every continent including both the Arctic and Antarctica and can live, breed, and feed in freshwater, saltwater, and terrestrial environments. While they are less common on tropical islands you can still find them, among others, on Galapagos. 

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The most stereotypical gull and the one that people tend to think of when they hear the word “seagull” is the herring gull which is divided into several subspecies depending on its habitat – there’s the American herring gull, the European herring gull, and the Armenian gull, for example.  

The common gull is a small, slightly rounder, and cuter version of the herring gull and the great black-backed gull is the world’s largest gull.