Goffin’s Cockatoos as Pets-Costs, Temperament and Care Info

Goffin's Cockatoos as Pets-Everything You Need to Know

The Tanimbar Corella bird – or the ‘Goffin’s cockatoo’ as they are more commonly known – is one of the smaller species in the cockatoo family and has a white body with a gray-ish white beak. These pretty parrots are also known as ‘Blushing cockatoos’ owing to the salmon pink colored feathers of their lores (between a bird’s eyes and nostrils) and at the base of their head. Goffin’s cockatoos are native to the Tanimbar islands archipelago of Indonesia and have become a popular pet with bird lovers everywhere.

So, what are Goffin’s cockatoos like as pets? Goffins are notoriously playful and very intelligent birds – so sharp in fact that if they watch you open their cage enough, they’ll soon learn how to do it themselves! As well as having a mischievous side, they are also very affectionate and sociable pets, even appearing friendly to strangers if they have been properly socialized from a young age. All in all, Goffin’s cockatoos are lively, vocal birds that love to play and interact with you.

If you are considering keeping a Goffin’s cockatoo as a pet then great – you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, we’ll be outlining all you need to know about life with a Goffin’s cockatoo from how to care for and feed them to their intelligence levels and providing them with the best living conditions to help them thrive. Read on to learn more about these awesome feathered friends.

Their Origin, Colors, and Markings

Goffin’s cockatoos are named after the Latin name for their species, Cacatua goffini, and they originate from the Tanimbar islands of Indonesia in the Maluku province. They are mostly white colored birds with subtle hints of salmon pink around their beaks. This slight pink shade is also noticeable when they fan out their crest feathers at the top of their head.

Under their wings, there is also the slightest hint of pale yellow, which looks quite beautiful when they’re in flight. And as mentioned earlier, their beaks are a pale gray/white color, along with their feet. A helpful way to tell if you have a male or female Goffin’s cockatoo is by the eye color – males have a black iris, whilst females typically have brown eyes.

Their Temperament

As long as they are tamed and well socialized from a young age, Goffins are likely to be affectionate and friendly with anyone they meet, and once they get to know their owners quite well, Goffins are known for becoming increasingly hyperactive – dancing, talking more and screaming when they want your attention!

They also love to bite and chew on things in their environment, but this is part of their curios nature rather than a behavioral issue. If your cockatoo does bite, it is only in response to feeling stressed or provoked – mostly, Goffins are just extroverted, playful little clowns!

Goffin’s Cockatoo Costs

The cost of a young weaned adult Goffin’s cockatoo can range between $1,000 and $2,000. Lower-priced cockatoos can sometimes indicate that the bird has health issues or behavioral problems, though this isn’t always the case, so it’s wise to ask the breeder/owner for a written declaration of the bird’s health. The overall costs of keeping a cockatoo – including food, cage and toys etc. – can amount to around $2-3,000 a year.

Goffin’s Cockatoo Diet

In the wild, Goffin’s cockatoos will eat an assortment of seeds, nuts and berries, blossoms, leaf buds and the odd insect larvae. In captivity, however, pet Goffins should be fed on a diet of high quality formulated pellets (75 percent of their diet) and a wide variety of raw veg, fresh fruit, and nuts (25 percent).

Each day, you should feed them 3/4 cup of high quality pellets (LAFEBER’S Premium Daily Diet pellets is a good brand), and a 1/4 cup of fresh fruit and veg. Goffins can eat a wide variety of fruit and veg in small amounts, but be sure to check through this list of unsafe and toxic foods beforehand.

Average Life Span & Health Issues

Goffin’s cockatoos can live to around 30 to 40 years in good health, so they are quite the commitment. To ensure your Goffins stays healthy, it’s good to be aware of some of their common health issues and behaviors that they may experience throughout their lifetime. These include:

  • Sarcocystis (a fatal parasite infection)
  • Psittacine beak and feather disease or PBFD
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Aggression towards mates
  • Feather picking
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Obesity

Some of these conditions can be in your control if you take proper care – i.e. preventing obesity by not over-feeding them and preventing their habit of feather picking by keeping them sufficiently mentally stimulated (Goffins are prone to pick at their feathers when bored for long periods).

Neglected Goffins will become vulnerable to the more severe conditions mentioned above, so make sure you can give your time and attention to these beautiful birds, keep them on a balanced diet and take them for all their necessary vet check ups.


Goffins are one of the smallest species of cockatoo, measuring around 12 to 13 inches long from head to tail. They are similar in size to cockatiels.

Exercise Needed

Goffins cockatoos are prone to obesity, so they need to stay active for several hours each day. You should let them explore their surroundings outside their cage for around 3 to 4 hours a day and give them a play stand where they can climb, explore, and play with interactive toys and puzzles. Putting on your favorite tunes is also an easy way to get them moving since cockatoos love to dance!

Living Conditions for Goffin’s Cockatoos

The Cage (Size and Setup)

The minimum cage size for a Goffins cockatoo should be about 5 ft tall by 24 inches deep and 36 inches wide. The cage should also be made from wrought iron to prevent them from chewing the bars and should have an escape-proof latch. Because you can’t always give them your undivided attention, Goffins will need toys and chewable items within their cage to keep them amused.

Rattles with plastic parts attached can be a great cage toy for them since they not only love the clanging, clattering sounds, but they will have something shiny and colorful to chew on.

Toys and Perches

Outside of their cage, it’s important that Goffins have a designated perch and a playground to explore. Many free-standing bird playgrounds have multiple perches and these can come in metal or wood, but it is always preferable to go for wood perches as these are warmer to the touch and better for chewing on!

You should also leave plenty of toys in this play area for them, including foraging toys, puzzles that release some treats, or a simple piece of thick rope they can chew on and undo knots with.


Make sure they have a comfortable living environment by keeping household temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And if their cage is near direct sunlight, always make sure they can find a spot of shade within their cage. Cockatoos can tolerate hot and cold temperatures, but they will not thrive in extremes of either for long periods.

How to Take Care of Baby Goffin’s Cockatoos

Baby Goffins are certainly cute, but they take a lot of hard work. They are known to sometimes refuse food during the weaning process, and this can last for weeks or months depending on their personalities. They are also incredibly needy and will require your full attention if you want to iron out any behavioral problems and raise a friendly, sociable cockatoo.

It helps to have had prior experience owning a bird species and even then, it is wise to first consider the ups and downs of raising a baby Goffins cockatoo:


  • You know its prior health/behavioral history
  • You can help it get used to new sounds and experiences very quickly (car rides, baby cries, dog barks etc.)
  • The initial cost is much lower than buying an adult Goffin’s cockatoo


  • They require constant care and attention (you need to be home 24/7     basically!)
  • If you make mistakes in raising them, they can develop behavioral problems
  • A mistake in their care/medical needs could lead to them developing an incurable disorder or malformation
  • They can turn against their owners once they reach sexual maturity

Are Goffin’s Cockatoos Good Pets?

If you have a few hours spare each day to give them the attention and mental stimulation they need, Goffin’s cockatoos can make wonderful pets.

Because of their energy and noise levels, owners with prior experience of keeping a parrot may be best, and you should be prepared for a noisy pet. Since they are small cockatoos, they won’t take up a lot of space either, making them ideal pets for apartments and small spaces.

Where Do Goffin’s Cockatoos Live?

Goffin’s cockatoos live in the tropical forests of the Indonesian islands Selaru, Yamdena, and Larat. They can also be found in New Guinea.

Due to an unfortunate loss of habitat and trapping in the pet trade, Goffins are now a protected species, so to keep one as a pet, you’ll need a permit to certify that your cockatoo was bred in captivity and not illegally trapped and sold in the wild.

Goffin’s Cockatoo Intelligence

Goffin’s cockatoos are considered to be highly intelligent – especially when it comes to how skilled they are at escaping from their cages!

In fact, a 2013 study at Oxford university found that Goffins can solve complex mechanical problems with little to no help. Ten untrained cockatoos were given a puzzle box secured by five interlocking devices and one cockatoo solved the locks in under two hours without any help.

Goffin’s Cockatoo Facts

They are nicknamed “Velcro birds” – Goffins and all cockatoo species have such strong bonds with their owners and are so affectionate that they can become easily depressed if they don’t spend enough time with you, hence the cute nickname ‘Velcro’.

They have a 3-way bite – Goffins rarely bite their owners, but if you ever annoy them to the point of provoking them to bite, you’ll definitely feel it! The lower jaw of a Goffins beak has a ‘scoop-shaped’ design that can deliver a powerful clamp, grab and bite – of almost equal force to a large dog’s bite!

They are Dimorphic – Goffin’s cockatoos are dimorphic, meaning it’s almost impossible to tell between males and females. The only real clue is in the eye color, which is lighter colored in females and black in males.

Goffin’s Cockatoo Talking Ability

Goffins are not known to be the best talkers of the parrot world, but they love to mimic sounds they hear and they can be taught to say a few words and phrases if you train them well enough from a young age.

Goffin’s Cockatoo Molting

Goffins usually molt once or twice a year to replace old and tattered feathers, though it is natural for them to molt in small amounts all year round.

Goffin’s Cockatoo Noise Level

Thankfully, Goffins cockatoos have a reputation as the “quiet cockatoo” species, but this doesn’t mean they won’t make noise on a daily basis. Goffins are not constantly disruptive, but they will occasionally screech and scream when they want to get your attention.

Goffin’s Cockatoo Breeding Age

Like other cockatoos, Goffins can begin breeding as young as 3 years old, though on average, hand-reared Goffins are more likely to reach breeding age at around 8 to 10 years old.

Goffin’s Cockatoo Eggs

Goffins typically lay a clutch of 2 to 3 eggs in total and the incubation period usually lasts around 24 to 26 days. Cockatoo eggs can hatch any time between 20 and 30 days after laying and Goffins hatchlings are completely bald and blind in their first week after hatching.

A Goffins chick’s wing muscles aren’t developed sufficiently for flight until they are around 8 to 10 weeks old.

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