Goffins Cockatoo 101: Everything You Need to Know

Goffins Cockatoo

Species Overview

Also Known As: Goffins Cockatoo

Scientific Name: Tanimbar corella

Adult Size: 12.5 inches

Life Expectancy: 50-70 years

Is The Goffins Cockatoo a good pet?

  • Social and very affectionate
  • Create lots of laughter
  • Very Intelligent
  • Smaller then their other Cockatoo cousins
  • They can be loud
  • Demand a lot of attention 
  • Harder to get them to talk
  • Not suited to apartment living

Goffin’s cockatoos are a small variety of cockatoos with big personalities. These little guys can be great birds for those with time and attention to spare, with lots of social interaction to give to this extroverted bird.

General Information

The gregarious, intelligent and affectionate Goffins Cockatoo has not enjoyed the popularity of other larger Cockatoos in the pet world because they demand much love and attention. If you are among those who are owned by one, you already know that they are largely underestimated as the perfect bird, as long as you have plenty of time, love and affection to give them. They cement a bond between themselves and their humans like no other bird. They are not a bird to be left in a bird room or to entertain themselves.


They are fun-loving, interactive and said to be natural entertainers. But, this smallest of Cockatoos (approximately 12.5″ long-weighing 300-400 grams) will not be denied attention; without it, they turn inward and sullen. 


But, on the other hand, they are cuddly and snuggly and will fill your days with love and lively laughter, and they demand it from their humans. Goffins can be excellent and prolific talkers; like any other parrot, some just prefer to talk “parrot”. It does take a lot of effort to have them speak fluently, but; the rewards are many when they do.


They tend to scream (as most Cockatoos do) when left to their own devices when they want attention and love. They hail from the Tenimber Islands of Indonesia and are flock birds in the wild; hence, their need to be a part of their human flock. This is why they make excellent birds for families because they will bond with more than one person and are extremely gentle. Unfortunately, children must be taught that all birds bite, and so do Goffins.


Unlike other parrots, the Goffins should not be weaned before 12-14 weeks of age if raising them. When they go to a new home, their humans should offer warm formula or other “comfort” foods a couple of times per day until they are completely weaned onto a diet of pellets, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. 


If the breeder does not properly wean the baby, their cries for comfort food or formula will turn to screams very shortly, and the new family relationship can deteriorate or be lost. Please be sure to ask your selected breeder plenty of questions before purchasing. They do not fair well with being rehomed because they mourn for their original human flock.

What food do they eat?

Wild cockatoos forage all day for seeds, nuts, coconuts, and grain crops. Like all companion parrots, cockatoos do not thrive on birdseed alone. Cockatoo food shouldn’t be boring to eat, either, and they will love foods like Avi-Cakes, Pellet-Berries, Nutri-Berries, and Premium Pellets.


Goffins Cockatoos can be rescued, adopted, or purchased at verified organizations or adoption websites like Petfinder. Pricing ranges from $1000 to $2000 from breeders.

If you want to choose a breeder, make sure that the breeder is reputable by asking them how long they’ve been breeding and working with Cockatoos. Ask for a tour, but don’t be alarmed if you are unable to tour the facilities in which they keep the birds. Many reputable breeders opt to work under closed aviaries, which prevents diseases from infecting the flock.

Goffins Cockatoo on a ledge

How big is the Goffins Cockatoo?

The Goffins cockatoo is approximately 12.5″ long, weighing 300-400 grams. Because of their high energy and activity level, Goffins need the biggest cage you can manage. The very minimum would be 24 inches wide by 36 inches long, but they will utilize every inch of even the largest Macaw-sized cage. Just be certain you order one with ¾ or one-inch bar spacing so the bird can’t get its head through. 


Another reason for a large cage is that it cannot be permitted without constant supervision. No parrot is capable of causing more damage or getting into trouble more quickly than a fun-loving Goffins cockatoo!


Goffins Cockatoos are beautiful and very friendly in nature. These birds love affection from their human family, so socializing with humans like all other parrot species is a must so they don’t become depressed, withdrawn and sullen.

Common Diseases

 They are not susceptible to many diseases with the exception of common things such as Psittacine Beak and Feather Syndrome. This unfortunate disease usually manifests itself in the feathers after several years. In addition to feather malformation, beak disfiguration is common with this disease.  All Cockatoos species have the propensity to develop this syndrome.

The Benefits and Challenges of Owning a Goffin's Cockatoo

Pros of Owning a Goffin’s Cockatoo
Social and Very Affectionate

In the wild, Goffin’s cockatoos live in loose flocks of birds. They are naturally social animals who show a lot of affection for those they’ve bonded to.

Create Lots of Laughter

These playful and curious birds will offer hours of entertainment. Goffin’s cockatoos are known for being intelligent, which can lead to mischievous behaviors that might get them into trouble. They can even learn to open their cage by watching you do it a few times.

Smaller Than Their Other Cockatoo Cousins

Goffin’s cockatoos are one of the most small cockatoo species, usually between 12 and 13 inches long. Roughly the same size as a cockatiel, they require less room in their cage and might be a good option for smaller homes.

Cons of Owning a Goffin’s Cockatoo
They Can be Loud

Like many cockatoos, Goffins can be quite loud. Although they aren’t big talkers, they will scream like other cockatoos when they want attention, and this screech can be quite piercing.

Demand A Lot of Attention

All cockatoos need lots of attention and are often compared to living with winged toddlers. The Goffin’s cockatoo is no exception, requiring attention often. They’ll scream for it loudly when they don’t get the attention they want and need. The Goffin’s cockatoo is not a good bird for people who don’t have the time available or inclination to give them plenty of attention.

Harder To Get Them to Talk

Goffins are not as interested in talking as other birds might be. They are usually quieter birds, choosing to make noise only if they’re mimicking different sounds or animals (and people) or screaming to get attention.

Not Suited to Apartment Living

Cockatoos, including Goffins, are generally not well suited to apartment buildings. This is because they are screamers. The piercing shriek they emit can be a major buzzkill for neighbors, so it’s best to house them in a freestanding home.

Goffins Cockatoo

Differences Between Male and Female Goffin's Cockatoos

Goffins are very similar between the two sexes, but there are some differences you can notice, even if they’re subtle. Adult female Goffin’s cockatoos develop a reddish-brown iris, whereas the males remain black. The males also have much larger mandibles.

How To Choose the Right Cage and Accessories For Your Goffin's Cockatoo

Because Goffin’s cockatoos are a smaller variety of cockatoo, they can stand in a slightly smaller cage than their cockatoo cousins, but it’s still important to give them plenty of room to move. It’s also important to consider how often you’ll let your Goffin’s out. The less often they can spread their wings outside; the larger the cage should be. The minimum for a Goffin’s cockatoo is 5 feet tall by 24 inches deep by 36 inches wide.


Because Goffins are intelligent, it’s important to provide them with lots of toys they can use to stave off boredom. Having a wide selection of puzzle toys that you can exchange weekly, rotating them through the cage to keep things fresh and exciting, is an important part of entertaining Goffin’s cockatoos. For optimal health, provide lots of perches of different sizes and lengths, preferably of natural wood like willow or apple.

The Importance of Socialization and Training For Goffin's Cockatoos

Goffins are affectionate flock animals, meaning that they need to have attention from others to meet their social needs. Think of it like your Goffin is an extrovert. They need to interact with others to fill their social battery.


Socialization is also crucial for Goffin’s cockatoos because it helps teach them appropriate behavior. Socialization will help develop and engage their empathy to help them bond more with their owners, creating a closer bond and alleviating stress.

How To Recognize and Alleviate Stress in Your Goffin's Cockatoo

As a cockatoo, Goffins are known for screaming. But if they’re suddenly engaging in more screeching than before, for seemingly no reason, that may be a sign that they’re feeling more stressed than before. 


  • Other signs of stress include:
  • Feather Picking
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Biting
  • Decreased Vocalization
  • Self-Mutilation

Noticing any of these behaviors can be a sign of stress in your Goffins. The first step is to see if there’s a specific reason for increased stress, such as an environmental or physical factor.


If it’s generalized stress and anxiety, there are a handful of things you can do to help. Include your Goffins in more activities, involving them in the day’s social activities. They’re highly social, so this may ease some stress. You can also provide predictability by creating and following a routine. This will give them stability and comfort.

Beautiful White Goffins Cockatoo Bird Looking Forward

How To Build Trust and Bond with Your Goffin's Cockatoo

Your Goffins will benefit from routine and understanding. Creating a pattern so they know what to expect, what time they wake up, what time they’ll see you, what you’ll say and when they’ll be fed will give them comfort and stability.


Placing their cage in an easy-to-access place will give them the social experience they crave and help them feel more at home. Allow them to explore their surroundings (under supervision for safety) so they have ownership and understanding over them. Talking to them slowly and softly will help them get used to you, and you can even sing or whistle to them; they might mimic the tune

How To Prepare Your Home for A Goffin's Cockatoo

An important part of housing a Goffin’s cockatoo is finding a good place for their cage. Their cage should be placed in a central location in the house, somewhere where they’ll get lots of attention, affection, and contact with people. This will help meet their socialization needs and keep them from screaming for attention.

The Breeding Behavior of Goffin's Cockatoos and How To Prevent Unwanted Breeding

Goffin’s cockatoos’ sexual maturity starts at roughly 2 years old. The males can become aggressive during the mating season, mostly during winter and spring. Goffins aren’t known for breeding well in captivity. An interesting fact about the breeding behaviors of Goffin’s cockatoo is that both parents take part in incubating the eggs.


An excellent way to discourage breeding behaviors in your Goffins cockatoo is to find their ideal breeding conditions (during the winter or spring, with a nesting area available, and after breeding displays) and engage in the opposite. For instance, keeping an even 12 hours awake, 12 hours asleep schedule for your Goffins can simulate summer hours, where the daylight and night are more even. This way, they aren’t triggered into thinking it’s breeding season. 


You can also discourage breeding displays by giving time-outs when your Goffins exhibit them. Avoiding leaving a nesting box or tent for your Goffins in their cage (somewhere dark that they feel comfortable laying eggs in) will help discourage breeding as well.

The Importance of Regular Vet Check-Ups for Goffin's Cockatoos

Goffins are one of many birds affected by common illnesses like fatty tumours, psittacine beak and feather disease, feather plucking, and sarcocystosis. Therefore, taking them to the vet at least once a year is crucial for a regular well-bird check. Having a qualified avian vet for your Goffin’s cockatoo is important to ensure all their health needs are met and catch potential health concerns before they become unmanageable.

Goffins cockatoo on a black background

How To Manage and Prevent Common Feather Plucking Behavior In Goffin's Cockatoos

Feather plucking is a common affliction for many birds, including Goffin’s cockatoos. This behavior can result from illness or injury, even ones that might seem unrelated to their skin and feathers, as a stress response. Feather picking could be a sign that you need to visit your vet or that there are stressors in the environment causing issues for your Goffins. 


The most vital thing is to try to create a calming and stable environment so they feel comfortable. Keep an eye out for currents or drafts that might be literally ruffling its feathers, and be aware of how you and other animals in your house might affect your Goffins. Are they getting enough socialization and affection? Finding stress sources and eliminating or mitigating them is crucial.

How To Provide Proper Care for A Rescued or Rehomed Goffin's Cockatoo

It’s critical to remember that Goffin’s cockatoos will express displeasure with screaming. This is important because after being rehomed, they might be distrustful and scared, and the screaming may be a sign that they’re just upset. Remember how terrified the little bird is, and remain calm in the face of their screaming. They’ll pick up on your energy and respond in time, allowing you to calm them.

Fun and Interesting Facts about Goffin’s Cockatoos

The Goffin’s cockatoo is a ton of fun and a beautiful (if small) specimen of a cockatoo. There are a load of interesting facts about them, but some of the best include:


Naming– Goffin’s cockatoo reportedly gets its name not from the person who discovered them but from their discoverer’s close friend. Located by Otto Finsch in 1863, the bird was named after Finsch’s friend Andreas Leopold Goffin, a Dutch naval lieutenant and friend who died the same year at age 26.


Co-Parenting– Goffin’s cockatoos share parental responsibilities for eggs, both participating in incubation. 

Bringing a Goffin’s Cockatoo into Your Life

Bringing a Goffin’s cockatoo home is a great way to add a new genius to the family, one that can mimic noises and solve problems while being very affectionate. For more bird tips and tricks, be sure to check out more of our website!

Alan Winters

Alan Winters

Alan is a dedicated bird enthusiast and experienced writer who has been sharing insights on bird care and behavior for several years. With a passion for parrots in particular, Alan has a deep understanding of their unique needs and behavior patterns.

As a trusted authority in the field of bird care, Alan takes pride in sharing accurate and up-to-date information with his readers. Through his writing, he aims to educate and inspire bird owners of all experience levels to provide the best possible care for their feathered friends.

When not writing about birds, Alan can be found volunteering at local bird sanctuaries and rescues, where he enjoys putting his knowledge and experience to use helping birds in need.

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