Goffin’s Cockatoo Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common Name:Goffin’s Cockatoo
Scientific Name:Cacatua goffiniana
Life Span:Up to 40 years
Weight:Around 300 grams
Length:Around 12 inches long
Country of Origin:Indonesia

Physical Description

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The Goffin’s cockatoo, also known as the Tanimbar corella, is the smallest out of all white cockatoos. Their size is about 12 inches long, from their heads down to their tails. These Goffin cockatoos are also mainly white with salmon-colored feathers around the eyes and the beak. They also have deeper feathers in the crest and around the neck that are also colored with salmon. The undersides of their wings and the tail feathers have a yellowish tinge. But, these birds tend to be mistaken for the little corella or the bare-eyed cockatoo because they look a lot alike.

Goffin’s cockatoos are seen as one of the smaller cockatoos, and they usually only weigh up to 11 ounces or 300 grams. They are chubbier, and they have a more rounded look compared to their cousins. They also share the unique and distinguishing traits of the cockatoo family, their crest. Whenever they feel happy, or otherwise roused, they will fan out their graceful plume of feathers on the top of the head.

Also, the Goffin’s cockatoo has pale grey beaks and feet. The only difference that is easily distinguishable between males and females is their eyes. The females have brown eyes while the males have black irises.

Availability and Natural Habitat

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Goffin’s Cockatoos are native to the forests of Larat, Selaru, and Yamdena, including all the islands in the Tanimbar Islands archipelago in Indonesia. These birds can also be found in New Guinea, as well. Also, the Maluku islands cover a vast territory and are full of unique and wonderful parrots. In the south of these islands, the Tanimbar archipelago also serves also the natural home of these cockatoos. Here they inhabit the tropical, forested regions, gathering in small flocks. These Goffin’s cockatoos also suffered so much in the wild and are now seen as a near-threatened breed.

Trapping for the pet trade and a loss of their natural habitat has threatened the populations of this species, so they are currently under protected status. For this reason, to own and keep a Goffin’s Cockatoo as a pet, you must secure a permit from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This permit assures that the bird you receive is not an illegally trapped animal.


Cockatoos, in general, are famous for being the show-offs, clowns, and entertainers in the bird world. Just like the rest of their family, the Goffin’s cockatoos are known as one of the best when it comes to their antics and doing tricks. Goffin’s cockatoos are known to be sociable, friendly, and affectionate. Their reputation talks about being birds that are inquisitive, playful, and active. Basically, this means that these birds require lots of attention from their owners and plenty of interaction with them, as well. Though these birds can be quite small in size, they definitely make up for it with their big personalities and love of having fun.

If you compare them to other breeds of parrots, the Goffin’s cockatoo is relatively quieter. But, if they are seeking for their owner’s attention, these birds can produce surprisingly loud screams. They might not be the best talkers, they can still be taught a lot of words, and they enjoy mimicking sounds that they hear. When they are in the mood, they love vocalizing and can talk non-stop. Also, if you are after entertainment, these birds can even be taught about how to dance.

There’s truly no denying that Griffin’s cockatoos are very intelligent birds, and their smarts can be astounding to many owners. Most of the time, they use their smart skills to perform mischievous tricks. They have the intelligence levels to learn how to open a latch on a cage, even by only seeing how the humans do it a few times. The Griffin cockatoos are crafty escape artists, so owners should watch out.

In fact, in a study done by Auesperg AMI et al. in 2013, Goffin’s cockatoos were put to the test. The research results had shown that these birds had extraordinary skills when it came to mechanics and problem-solving. Ten birds were tested on locking devices, and most all of them were able to solve and figure out the puzzles after only a single failed attempt. Some of them require a demonstration from humans to be able to solve a problem, while others can solve and unlock devices on their own.

Exercise and Training

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As Goffin’s Cockatoos are very active birds, they seek to experience plenty of exercise during their day to day activities. This is why owners should be able to give their birds some playtime every day. On average, it can be about three to four hours outside their cage, but still maintaining owner supervision. This time must be used in stretching out their muscles and playing. Owners can also use this time for training. Just make sure to be consistent with these schedules so that the bird establishes a routine, stays tame, and becoming well-adjusted to life in your home.

Another good choice for a source of activity is a supply of interactive toys to ensure that these birds are able to enjoy the exercise that they need to remain in good mental state and excellent physical conditions. For instance, owners can provide bird puzzles like knots that they can untie and things that they can take apart. Chew toys will also let them release and accommodate their needs to bite on things. These cockatoos also love foraging, so you can hide toys or treats for the birds to find.


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The Goffin’s cockatoos are quite noisy when you are keeping a cockatoo pet. This is an important fact to consider if you are thinking about getting one. These parrots are also quite vocal, and they want their owners to know what they are feeling. They express their feelings with screeching and cawing loudly at high pitches. Goffin’s cockatoos are also amazing at imitating human speech in loud levels, or as low as incomprehensible mumblings. However, if the pet birds stay satisfied, entertain, and content with the attention it receives, it produces less noise. But, because of the chances to produce high noises, it is unsuitable for keeping these parrots in small and connected apartments.

Food and Eating Habits

Like other birds in the cockatoo family, Goffin’s cockatoos are very prone to becoming overweight, so owners should monitor the fat intake of these birds. Making their daily meals a balanced diet is what they need to stay healthy. Usually, these are comprised of high-quality pellets and daily helpings of root vegetables, fresh leafy greens, fruits, and some nuts.

Goffin’s Cockatoos also enjoy eating a wide variety of healthy raw food when feeding these birds. Learning to sprout can also be considered as an excellent option for getting much needed live, fresh, and raw nutrition into them. The wider the variety of vegetables, nuts, grains, and other greens that you provide your pet birds, the better they will be in regards to their health.

Because the birds are enjoying chewing to keep them entertained, it can be smart to provide them with cuttlebones. This will keep their beaks trimmed, and it can also be their source of calcium and important vitamins.


For breeding in captivity, it can be a difficult thing to achieve for Goffin’s cockatoos. If you get a pair that has been caught in the wild, it might take those birds several years to adapt to life in captivity for them to become quality breeders. But, their sexual maturity can begin as young as 2 years old. Unfortunately, because of the difficulty of adapting for first-generation Goffin’s cockatoos, only a few captive birds are being bred.

Most of the time, male cockatoos are frequently become aggressive in behaving towards their mates. This is why owners must consider the durability and cage construction so that mate aggression can be reduced. In case the male develops aggressive behavior, owners must clip their wings so that females can escape should the situation call for it.

In the United States of America, Goffin’s cockatoos are seen to breed predominantly during the winters and springs. Most of the time, the clutch size is about two to three eggs. For cage construction, it’s good to use a 1 x 1 inch by 12-gauge welded wire. A suggested size would be 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide by 6 feet long that is suspended about 4 feet above the ground.

Double-entrance boxes were often used in order to reduce the chance of the males trapping the female inside the nest box. Goffin’s cockatoos tend to like having a narrow and deep nest that is made from wooden boxes. The nest must have a size of approximately 12 inches by 12 inches by 36 inches.

For their young, the incubation period is approximately 24 to 26 days. The chicks begin their fledging at approximately 8 to 10 weeks of age. The Goffin’s cockatoos are relatively easy to hand-rear, and most hand-rearing formulas will work well for them.

Though Goffin’s cockatoos are not as noisy as other birds in their family, they still can be known to be noisy during their breeding. This is why proximity to neighbors must be considered. If they are housed outdoors, these cockatoos can also produce calls at night, especially during a full moon. In southern states, outdoor caging must be protected from opossums as well to prevent exposure to parasites that can infect them with a fatal lung infection.

Common Health Problems

Here are ways to check if your Goffin’s cockatoo is healthy:

  1. Inspect the plumage. – If the cockatoo is healthy, it will have clean and shiny feathers that show no signs of molting. Watch out for feather plucking, as it is a common sign of both physical and emotional sign of disease. In fact, Goffin’s Cockatoos can turn into neurotic birds in times of extreme stress and self-inflicting a lot of damage by plucking their feathers even until they draw blood.
  2. Look for signs of showmanship. – Goffin’s Cockatoos are born as entertainers. Not all types of cockatoos speak, but those who do, like Goffin’s Cockatoos, usually have a large vocabulary and will break out in song and conversation whenever they feel like it. This is why when your normally noisy bird becomes suddenly quiet, you should definitely realize that there is something wrong. If you notice that your cockatoo is quiet, but still has a lively demeanor, the bird is okay. But, if your bird is turning lethargic and depressed, it is probably very sick, and you should consult the vet immediately.
  3. Pay attention to the cockatoo’s body positioning. – If a bird is healthy, it has a perfect balance. Healthy Goffin’s cockatoos have no problems walking on a narrow perch, curtain rod, or even the back of a chair. If you notice their walk is getting wobbly, this could basically mean a sign of trouble. Also, check if your bird is favoring one foot over another; it is also another sign of health problems.
  4. Listen to your Goffin’s cockatoo while it breathes. – A healthy cockatoo will breathe so quietly that it is barely noticeable when the bird is singing and talking. Raspy breathing, nasal discharge, coughing, labored breathing, and unnatural head twisting is all signs of a respiratory infection.

Additionally, here are some common health problems of Goffin’s Cockatoos:

  1. Proventicular Dilation Disease – This avian disorder involves the nerves that supply the gastrointestinal tract of a bird, but it can also affect the nerves that supply other bird organs, too. It is also known as Parrot Wasting Syndrome because it is a very common disease in parrots, macaws, and cockatoos. Symptoms of this illness include vomiting, weight loss, and changes in the bird’s droppings. It also is exhibited by a swollen crop, which is a muscular pouch that is near the throat. However, no one symptom or sign will be able to easily distinguish PDD. Some of these birds may not show any signs of illness until the condition is at its worst. Most of the time, the treatment program will involve NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and the bird will be obligated to participate in a special diet plan. However, this disease has no actual cure, so the birds will undergo pain management treatments for the rest of their lives.
  2. Parrot Fever or Psittacosis – This illness comes from a form of the Chlamydia bacterium that can affect all hookbills. The disease is highly contagious, and it can be passed from birds to other animals, as well as humans. The symptoms of this disease are not as specific, but they include difficulty in breathing, inflammation, eye infections, watery stools, and overall lethargy. The treatment for this is an antibiotic called tetracycline that is often given orally or through injections.
  3. Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease or PBFD – PBFD is a serious illness, and it can affect all members of the parrot species. Usually, this has been referred to as bird AIDS, given the similarity between the diseases. Although the most affected birds are under the age of two years, PBFD can affect birds of any age. The symptoms of PBFD include abnormal feather development, absence of powder down or dander, abnormalities of the beak, feather loss, lesions, and growths. If your Goffin’s cockatoo is showing up symptoms, the veterinarian can also do a feather and a skin biopsy. At present, there has been no discovered treatment for this illness, and the only thing the vet can help to is for pain management.
  4. Polyomavirus – This illness usually affects caged birds, especially cockatoos. This can be fatal, and it mostly affects newborns, juveniles, and young Goffin’s cockatoos. The symptoms of this disease, including the loss of appetite, diarrhea, paralysis, and an enlarged abdomen. Some cockatoos do not show outward symptoms at all, but they serve as the carriers of the virus. They may shed the virus during times of stress, and these can pose a risk of infection to other cockatoos in their surroundings. This disease has a high mortality rate, and at present, the treatment for polyomavirus is still unknown.
  5. Candidiasis – Also known as Candida, this disease is a fungal infection that can bring harm to the digestive tract of all species of birds. It also involves an overgrowth of years that are commonly seen in the bird’s digestive system. Some common symptoms of Candida infections involve white lesions around and inside their mouths and throats, vomiting, and the loss of appetite. The Goffin’s cockatoos also exhibit signs of lethargy. Most infections involving Candidiasis are successfully treated using antifungal medications. But, since Candida often develops secondary to another disease, the bird should be examined and treated for all potential problems by the vet.

Environment and Housing

Because Goffin’s cockatoos are very active, it is important to provide them with the largest cage space that your budget can allow. Ideally, the cockatoo enclosure should provide room for a flight, but at a minimum space, owners must at least be able to provide the space to fully spread their wings.

Compared to owning large cockatoos, durable cage construction is not as critical, because they are not too strong as chewers. But, many Goffin’s cockatoos are intelligent enough to open the latches of their cage, so escape-proof latches might be necessary for them. Ideally, these birds should also be provided with outdoor cages to allow them playtime in the sunlight and so that they can breathe in the fresh air.


For the maintenance of good skin conditions and good bird plumage, routine showering and bathing are important for these birds. Owners can opt for misting these birds and allowing them to dry in a warm room or through basking in the sun. Another option would be to use a hairdryer for these birds. For hair clipping, care should be taken so that the wings will not be excessively clipped, leading to the birds falling and injuring themselves. Clip only the primary flight feathers so that the bird will just glide to the floor. Goffin’s cockatoos are better flyers than Moluccans and Umbrellas, so a few feathers can customarily be clipped from these birds.

Fun Facts about the Goffin’s Cockatoo

  1. The Goffin’s Cockatoo is a part of the smallest cockatoos to ever exist.
  2. Goffin’s cockatoos are diurnal, which means that they are active during the day, and they require daylight in order to find their food.
  3. Goffin’s cockatoos feed up in the treetops, and they also raid maize crops.
  4. Goffin’s cockatoos are monogamous, and their bonds can last for a lifetime.
  5. According to the IUCN Red List, the total number of Goffin’s cockatoos is estimated to be 100,000 to 499,000 individuals.
  6. There were 100 breeding pairs of Goffin’s cockatoos that were introduced in Taiwan.
  7. Goffin’s cockatoos are named after Andreas Leopold Goffin, who was a Dutch naval officer that was a friend of Otto Finsch, the person who discovered the bird.
  8. Goffin’s cockatoos love dancing to music like other species of cockatoos.
  9. Goffin’s cockatoos are very intelligent and are practically good at working out how to be free from their cages.
  10. Goffin’s cockatoos can mimic the sounds made by other animals, including people.

Where Can You Get a Pet Goffin’s Cockatoo?

Goffin’s Cockatoo can be bought from avian specialty pet stores, bird breeders, as well as for adoption from bird rescue organizations. Goffin’s cockatoos are often given up for adoption because they usually have behavior concerns, which means that planning to own these types of birds require extensive research and careful consideration. Ideally, it is advised that potential owners should the first partner with an experienced cockatoo breeder for greater success in keeping these cockatoos like a pet.

How to Care for a Pet Goffin’s Cockatoo?

In caring for a Goffin’s Cockatoo, owners will be rewarded with an affectionate and loving pet, which increases the possibilities of them bonding strongly with these birds. These cockatoos require daily interaction for them to maintain their emotional health and mental health. It might seem a little high maintenance, but keepers should be aware that Goffin’s cockatoos cannot thrive when they feel neglected, and they tend to resort to destructive behaviors, like self-mutilation and feather plucking if their care needs are not met.

Because of this reason, owners should be very cautious when they plan to adopt one of these birds or purchase them from reputable providers. It is important to be aware of the bird’s history because bad behaviors can be stressful to deal with as well as correct.

Goffin’s cockatoos are highly recommended for experienced bird owners that enjoy lots of free time to spend with their feathered friends. It is also essential to set boundaries early on, after the acquisition of these birds. It is better to establish the perfect balance between not paying enough attention and caring for the birds too much. This will ensure that the bird feels loved, well-socialized, but it can still survive with some alone time when their owner is gone.

A great thing about these birds is that they do not require much space to thrive, unlike other larger breeds of parrots. This is why the Goffin’s cockatoo usually becomes the go-to breed for people who do not have a large spacious area to accommodate larger bird species. But, if you can, owners are recommended to provide these birds with big living enclosures to promote an overall better environment for the cockatoo. Like other cockatoos, these birds also enjoy chewing on things and can destroy their cages due to insistent chewing. However, this can be avoided if you provide them with lots of toys and treats on their perches.

One last thing you should consider before bringing a Goffin’s cockatoo to your home is to contact local breeders and check if you can spend a few hours spending time with the birds. A few hours observing them can give a grasp of how they are, plus you can also discuss things with others.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Goffin’s Cockatoo cost?

Goffin’s Cockatoo is available for 1,000 dollars to 2,000 dollars, more or less, for a weaned young adult.

Do Goffin’s Cockatoos make good pets?

The Goffin’s Cockatoo makes good pets because of their sociable and friendly personalities, as well as for being quick learners.

How long do Goffin’s Cockatoos live?

Goffin’s Cockatoo lives for about 30 years on average, but there are individuals that are reported to live much longer.

Can Goffin’s Cockatoos talk?

Goffin’s Cockatoos loves talking a lot, and they can scream in similar ways as other cockatoos.

Do Goffin’s Cockatoos bite?

When they are feeling aggressive, Goffin’s cockatoos can lunge and bite humans coming near them.

Are Goffin’s Cockatoos loud?

Goffin’s cockatoos are famous for being very affectionate and social. Compared to other cockatoos, they are quieter, but they can scream when they want the attention of their owners.

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