Species group: Cockatoos
Other common names: Goffin’s Corella; Tanimbar Corella; Tanimbar Cockatoo
Scientific name: Cacatua goffini
The Goffin's Cockatoo is a spirited, highly intelligent smaller cockatoo with all the spirit and sass of a much bigger bird. The boldness of a properly socialized Goffin's can win your heart, because these birds can learn to go to anyone and demand attention, and they have been known to climb on strangers to work their charms. You should bring all of your best cockatoo management skills, because these little cuties have the brain power to pick a cage lock and the emotional intelligence to manipulate the unwary pet owner. The bird may have you wrapped around its tiny claw before you know what hit you.
Warning: Cockatoos are powder-down birds, and you should not obtain a Goffin's Cockatoo if anyone in the home suffers from allergies or asthma. Most of them are capable of extremely loud contact calls, or early morning “wake-up calls,” and it is strongly recommended against choosing any cockatoo if you live in an apartment or have nearby neighbors.
The Goffin's Cockatoo hails from the Tanimbar Islands in Indonesia, although most of us might have a better opportunity to observe the feral population in Singapore's parks and gardens. These remote Indonesian islands were apparently heavily logged in the 1970s, so the wild birds are suffering from the one-two punch of habitat destruction and over-collecting for the pet trade. They are now rated as a “Near-Threatened” species. There is simply no excuse for buying a smuggled bird, when there are breeders out there working to create lovable hand-fed babies. Know your breeder, and don't tolerate unethical behavior.
A smaller white cockatoo.
300 grams (10.5 oz.)
32 centimeters (12.6 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
Even though it is smaller and doesn't have the flashiest crest, for many of us, the Goffin's Cockatoo is the cockatoo to covet. They are social, intelligent, and intuitive, with the ability to read your body language. To watch a properly socialized, hand-fed Goffin's work a pet store is to watch a master. They know how to make you feel chosen.
Be aware that the Goffin's Cockatoo is an energetic, noisy bird with one heck of a voice. Like any other cockatoo, a wrongly handled Goffin's can become a screamer, a plucker, or a biter. Contact a parrot behaviorist ASAP if you have any problems. These birds are sharp. There's no shame in acquiring a little advanced education so that you can keep up with them. Cockatoos are probably more often given up for rescue or rehoming than any other bird, but a small investment in training could save your relationship.
The Goffin's Cockatoo loves to chew. Provide a powder-coated metal cage of at least 36” wide by 24” deep by 36” high with no more than 1” bar spacing. Please keep the cage well-supplied with disposable toys that can be chewed to destruction. Have sturdy manzanita perches in areas where you don't want to have to change the perches frequently, but also supply plenty of natural, bird-safe wood perches from unsprayed trees that your pet can chew to its heart's content.
The Goffin's Cockatoo is one of those cockatoos that is highly respected – even feared – as an escape artist. Many of these birds can open their own cage doors, so they are only humoring you by staying inside unless you use padlocks to secure the doors and windows. You have been warned.
Teach your Goffin's Cockatoo to step on an arm or hand-held perch on command, so that you can easily bring the bird to a play gym. Have more toys and chew items in the play space. It may sound a little counter-intuitive, but a highly intelligent cockatoo does not always understand what a toy is for, until you demonstrate by playing with the toy yourself. Remember, the more intelligent the pet, the more it learns from being taught, rather than just going by instinct.
If you have an older, aggressive male, it is particularly important to keep the play gym and cage at waist height. A bird perched at shoulder or head height may hop aboard your shoulder before you give permission. This behavior seems cute when your pet is younger, but it's best to teach him to hop on your arm, not your shoulder – and, preferably, after you give the request. You must manage this bird with kindness and respect, and the best way to fix a problem is to prevent it from developing in the first place.
Well-socialized, properly weaned Goffin's Cockatoos aren't as tricky to feed as some species, but they require a varied diet that isn't too high in fat, carbs, or simple sugars. You may offer a small seed mix, but limit access to high fat larger seeds such as sunflower. The core of the diet should be a good cockatoo pellet or a high quality commercial or homemade “soak and cook” mix that contains well-cooked beans, grains, and vegetables, as well as well-sprouted seed. Learn how to make a nice chopped salad containing lots of vegetables and greens, as well as some fruit. If you suspect that your bird is a little too hyper and getting too much sugar, then you can hold back the fruit for trick training, foraging games, or to offer by hand as part of a bonding exercise.
The young Goffin's Cockatoo can be surprisingly sweet and self-confident, so if you have a new baby that is whiny, complaining, or difficult, then investigate right away. They can be difficult to wean, and the bird may expect you to hand-feed it, either because it wasn't really weaned properly or because it's a little uncertain in the new home. You want to correct a weaning problem right away, because you never want to risk losing your cockatoo's trust. If you find that you must spoon feed something like mashed yams or bananas, take the time to do it.
Never feed avocado or chocolate to any cockatoo. These foods are toxic to all parrots.
Written by Elaine Radford
wonderful pets, cuddly, good talker, smallest cockatoo, big personalities, absolute clowns
feather dust, allergies, severe plucker, hormone season, loud squawks, hormone overload
extreme high energy, surprisingly strong bird, overstimulation remember
Now I know why so many people warn others off cockatoos...
For years I pined for a cockatoo as a pet. I went to classes at bird rescues and got on rescue waiting lists hoping that the right bird would come to me. It was years later when both my husband and myself had recently lost our jobs that the opportunity arose. A Goffins cockatoo was listed on craigslist by a woman who was desperate to find a good home for the bird. The owner was soon to undergo surgery and would not be able to care for the bird which had some severe problems with plucking and self mutilation. When we met, the woman opted to just give Coconut to us for free because she was confident we could give her a good home. At the time Coconut was living in an 18" square cage made of toxic, rusted metal. We immediately spent our savings on the biggest cage we could afford and vet care for Coconut, who also has a seizure disorder. After converting her to a fresh diet and keeping her in a collar to prevent her from mutilating the silver-dollar sized hole she had bitten into her own chest, she was as recovered as she will ever be from her trauma. We learned that the previous owner had put Coconut in a dark closet when she was loud and, as such, Coconut developed a phobia of the dark. Her cage sat on a table in front of a big-screen TV in her old home and now she is extremely sensitive to sounds of violence and explosions on TVs or computers. While Coconut was meant to be my bird she instantly took a liking to my husband who, at the time, was not all that into parrots. While I am pleased that they are bonded to this day and he absolutely is head over heels for her, it's a bit frustrating to be the spouse of the life-mate of a parrot. Coconut can be very aggressive to me, particularly when my husband is not in the room. Her health problems have improved so much since that first year and she has taught herself some funny tricks and likes to mimic things she hears. Goffins cockatoos are not known for their ability to mimic words clearly and Coconut is no exception. She likes to yell, "Hi Coconut!" and "Hello!". She has also adopted my now deceased kitty's distinctive meow which she will holler at the top of her "lungs". She is an extremely picky eater and, like any parrot, is fairly messy. She loves to chew wooden toys to bits and try to drop all manner of things onto her head. She occasionally still self-mutilates, either as a result of a major lifestyle/schedule change or due to moulting/breeding season. We love her, she's our little perpetual three year old, but boy, cockatoo ownership is not for the faint of heart!.
From Sparklewina Dec 31 2012 5:38PM
Spangly and Bandit
My experience with Goffin Cockatoos has been both an up and down, to no fault of the two birds. I've worked with other birds before but never Goffins, and when I was first shown their enclosure...well, let's just say I was surprised. Both birds were near completely plucked, the floor of their flight enclosure was over run with fire weed, and two bowls sat on the floor half filled with food. I was shown a makeshift shield that they suggested I carry into the cage with me, and warned that both birds would dive bomb te caretakers and attempt to claw and bite them.
All I could think was what sort of job had I just volunteered for.
It wa short term, taking care of them. The former Exotics Manager had just quit and everyone was pitching in to try and help out.
These two were just left in my care permanently.
See, Goffin Cockatoos are very much one people animals. They attach themselves to their owners and that's it, they're done, no one else will ever fill the void in their heart. Having to change owners as these two did is extremely harmful to their psyche and why I put their health as fragile if certain needs aren't met.
Immidiatly after being rehomed to Animis, these birds went...well, they went fairly crazy. They became chronic pluckers and very violent. I have had te cartiledge of my ear pierced twice and they have gone for my neck several times.
I can't blame them though, to have been with someone so long and then be uprooted and forgotten.
They absolutely love attention, so long as you're outside their enclosure. They dance and sing for you, and will enthusiastically say 'I love you' in te highest pitched voice imaginable. They have caught onto several other words too and will say my name as I go into their cage.
If you plan on getting a bird of this breed, please be in it for the long run. It's very detrimental to their mental health if you aren't..
From paintedzipper May 25 2014 5:28PM
Cockatoo - Sammy
Sammy was a mean bird. He would always hiss when anyone came into the back yard where we kept him. He was extremely territorial and did not like for anyone to be in "his" yard. He was hard to feed because of this. He would bite your hand if you tried to put food in the cage for him. Cleaning the cage was almost impossible since there was no way to get him out of the cage without him injuring you. It might have been that we didn't have him in the right climate, or just extreme seasonal aggression, but he was not a happy bird. I really wouldn't recommend this pet..
From savcass Oct 7 2013 11:22AM