Goffin’s Cockatoo – Profile & Care Guide

Common nameGoffin’s cockatoo, Tanimbar corella
Scientific nameCacatua goffiniana
Length27 – 33 cm
Lifespan40 years
Weight250 – 325 grams
Noise levelModerate to rather loud!
Goffin's Cockatoo - Profile & Care Guide by Parrot Essentials

Goffin’s cockatoo natural habitat

The Goffin’s cockatoo, also referred to as the Tanimbar corella, is a small cockatoo species. In fact, it’s the smallest of the white cockatoos within the genus Cacatua! It can be recognized by its smaller crest and prominent eye-rings, plus a patch of salmon coloring on its cheeks.

Scientifically known as Cacatua goffiniana, this cockatoo is naturally found in the tropical forests of various islands in the Indonesian Archipelago. Its natural habitat is threatened by deforestation for agricultural purposes. Pair this with the fact that trapping for the pet trade still hasn’t been entirely stopped, and it’s not surprising that the species has been listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List.

Goffin’s cockatoo intelligence & personality

Despite their smaller size, Goffin’s cockatoos are very intelligent. Their affectionate nature is similar to that of their larger cockatoo cousins. They’re playful and always on the go, so you’ll never be bored with a Goffin’s in the house. Additionally, the species is known for being incredibly inventive with toys and enjoying complex play that showcases their problem-solving abilities.

Known for forming a strong bond with their owners, Goffins crave social interaction and can be very cuddly birds. This being said, their smarts also mean they need a lot of mental stimulation to prevent boredom. These cockatoos are not just pets but engaging companions that thrive on attention and interaction. It’s important to consider whether you’re able to dedicate hours a day to your pet before bringing one into your family.

talking ability

Goffin’s cockatoos don’t have a reputation for talking much. They might pick up a few words or sounds, but they typically don’t build the extensive vocabulary that some other parrot species do. Their voices can be raspy and difficult to understand.

Noise level

In terms of noise level, most Goffin’s cockatoos are very vocal. Their flock call is high-pitched and can carry over long distances. In a home environment, this can be absolutely exasperating if you’re not able to handle a lot of noise.

Cockatoos vocalize when excited, stressed, seeking attention, or sometimes for no apparent reason—often during sunrise and sunset. Giving your bird plenty of attention and toys can reduce excessive noise. However, if you plan to get one, prepare yourself for a bird that expresses itself in a very distinct avian way.

Food & supplements for your Goffin’s cockatoo

A varied but balanced diet is crucial in order to keep your Goffin’s cockatoo happy and healthy. A high-quality formulated parrot pellet should be the cornerstone of your bird’s diet, supplemented with regular portions of (sprouted) seeds for variety and additional nutrition.

Do keep in mind that parrots tend to love seeds—a high-fat food—a little too much. You should limit the consumption of sunflower seeds in particular. Obesity is a common issue in pet parrots that can severely shorten their lifespan!

In addition to these staples, daily servings of fresh vegetables and regular portions of fresh fruit are important. Fresh produce not only offers a wide range of vital vitamins and minerals but also introduces different textures and tastes to your cockatoo’s diet. This encourages natural foraging behaviour and provides mental stimulation. Include leafy greens like kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and spinach regularly because they are particularly beneficial.

Ensure clean, fresh water is accessible at all times for drinking and replace it daily to maintain hygiene. Both food and water dishes require daily washing to prevent the growth of bacteria and to prevent your bird from getting ill.

Housing Requirements

Housing for Your Goffin's Cockatoo

Providing a spacious cage for your Goffin’s cockatoo is essential. Your bird should be able to spread its wings and exercise freely. A minimum recommended size is 120 cm in length, 90 cm in depth, and 120 cm in height. Even with a large cage, keep in mind that plenty of daily time outside the cage to explore and interact with their human family is crucial for these birds’ mental and physical health.

The cage should be located in a part of the home where there’s plenty of family activity, ensuring your bird feels included and can socialize with its human “flock”. Pick a spot away from the kitchen, draughty areas of the house (hallways) or direct sun.

Inside the cage, your Goffin’s should have access to a variety of parrot toys to keep it mentally stimulated. Rotating these toys on a regular basis not only prevents boredom but also encourages the bird to engage with its environment in new and exciting ways. Natural wood perches, such as those from manzanita or willow trees, not only provide a resting place but also help maintain claw and foot health through their varied textures.

Cockatoos are dusty birds, so regular baths are a must. Including a medium-sized dish for your Goffin’s to splash around in will help in maintaining healthy plumage.

Large Holey Forager Chewable Foraging Parrot Toy
Game Pad Controller Wood and Cork Parrot Toy

Game Pad Controller Wood and Cork Parrot Toy

Parrot Essentials



Tube O' Treats Foraging Parrot Toy - Large

Feather plucking in Goffin’s cockatoos

Feather plucking is a common issue in Goffin’s cockatoos, usually as a result of boredom or emotional distress due to their highly social nature. As mentioned, these intelligent birds form deep bonds with their human families. They require consistent daily interaction to maintain their mental and emotional health. Lack of this essential engagement can lead to self-destructive behaviours such as feather plucking or even skin picking.

To prevent feather plucking, which is an addictive behaviour that’s difficult to stop once it starts, it’s crucial to provide your Goffin’s with a variety of toys for mental stimulation. Dedicate plenty of time daily to hanging out with your bird so it doesn’t become lonely.

Goffin’s cockatoo facts

Interesting Facts About the Goffin's Cockatoo by Parrot Essentials
  • Goffin’s cockatoos have been the subject of extensive scientific research, with the conclusion being that they really are very intelligent. For example, they craft and use their own tools, a behaviour that observers have not noted in the wild but have seen in captivity.
  • Goffin’s cockatoos sometimes earn the label of an agricultural pest in their natural habitat. They love feeding on crops like corn, beans, and coconuts.
  • Scientists first formally described Goffin’s cockatoos in 1863 and initially gave them the scientific denomination Lophochroa goffini.
  • Parrot enthusiasts often relinquish cockatoos because they do not always realize the time, money, and dedication required to keep one. Consider whether you have what it takes to be a Goffin’s cockatoo owner.
  • Cockatoos, including this one, love music. One great way to spend time with your bird is to play some tunes and dance together!


In summarising, Goffin’s cockatoos are enchanting and intelligent birds, offering a unique and rewarding experience to the right owners. However, their care demands a high level of commitment due to their long lifespan, social nature, and need for mental and physical stimulation. They thrive in environments where they receive ample interaction, a balanced diet, and regular health check-ups. Potential owners must prepare for the challenges of keeping such an active and intelligent bird, including managing its loud vocalizations and potential behavioural issues. With the right care, Goffin’s cockatoos can be delightful companions, bringing joy and liveliness to their human families for many years.

Potential owners really do need to carefully evaluate their ability to commit to the needs of these birds for the entirety of their (very long) lifespan. It’s important they make sure they understand the best way to care for these wonderful parrots.

To view other Parrot Profiles & Care Guides, visit our Alphabetical list of Parrot Fact Sheets by visiting https://blog.parrotessentials.co.uk/parrot-profiles-care-guides/

O’Hara, M., Mioduszewska, B., Haryoko, T., Prawiradilaga, D. M., Huber, L., & Auersperg, A. (2019). Extraction without tooling around—The first comprehensive description of the foraging-and socio-ecology of wild Goffin’s cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana). Behaviour, 156(5-8), 661-690.

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