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Get To Know The Goffin's Cockatoo

Goffin's cockatoos are always on the lookout for fun, so provide plenty of bird toys and a fun bird cage.

By David Shepherd

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What are the most popular cockatoos? That might be a matter of taste, but any list will most likely include the Goffin’s cockatoo or Tanimbar cockatoo (Cacatua goffini). 

The Goffin’s cockatoo is one the smallest cockatoos. These little birds are the most mischievous creatures that I have encountered. As a pet, Goffin’s cockatoos have the questioning and carefree attitude of a small, active child.

goffin's cockatoo
Psittacosis was once known as parrot fever.

Goffin's Cockatoo Room & Board
To adequately house your cockatoo follow this easy rule: purchase the largest bird cage you can afford and fit in your home. Goffin’s cockatoo and other smaller cockatoos do well in a cage at least 4 feet wide, 4 to 5 feet high and 2 feet deep. These birds have to entertain themselves for several hours each day, so larger cages allow for more toys and perches. Playgyms on the top of the cage are not enough for the Goffin’s; like most cockatoos, when out of their cage they want to be with people.

When feeding your Goffin’s cockatoo, don’t overfeed it with fattening foods. Stay away from sunflower seeds, salt and avocados. Include fruits, veggies and even cooked, unseasoned chicken with a basic diet of nuts, seeds and formulated (pelleted) food.

Bird Toys For Goffin's Cockatoos
The best way to keep your Goffin’s cockatoo busy and entertained is to provide a variety of stimulating toys. When selecting toys, follow two easy parameters: movability and chewability. Goffin’s cockatoos love to ring bells. A single thin strip of soft leather tied in numerous knots is a favorite toy, too.

With their high intelligence, Goffin’s cockatoos enjoy puzzle-type toys. They enjoy finding hidden things, dismantling containers and removing what’s inside. Also, they love untying knots, swinging in ring toys, playing with whiffle golf balls and chewing soft woods. Of the six cockatoo species, I’ve found that Goffin’s cockatoos spend the least amount of time getting petted and scratched because they are too busy to sit still. 

Goffin’s cockatoos love bird toys that they can hold with their feet. Provide a toy box in the bottom of their cage full of little foot toys. Foot toys can include dominoes, natural rawhide chews, etc. Goffin’s like noise toys, like rattles. Foot toys frequently end up in the water bowl. Ensure that the toys are large enough to play with, but not small enough to be swallowed accidentally.

The Goffin’s inquisitive nature can quickly land these birds in trouble. Keep them supervised when they are out of the cage. They can learn to open spring clips and several other fastener types very quickly. If a lock mechanism on your Goffin’s cage is inefficient, it becomes simply a toy on the outside of the cage. They love to remove nuts from bolts.

Rotate your Goffin’s selection of toys on a monthly basis. Clean the used toys before storing them — this helps keep down any mold growth. 

Goffin's Cockatoo Origins
All cockatoos are native to the Australian subcontinent and inhabit the numerous islands of the four seas just north of Australia: Arafura Sea, Timor Sea, Banda Sea and the Molucca Sea. The cockatoo islands have exotic names such as Timor, Obi, Aru, Tanimbar, Moa, Alor, Celebes, Buru and others.

The Goffin’s hail from two of Indonesia’s Tanimbar Islands: Larat and Yamdena, the largest of this group. They were also introduced to Puerto Rico and Singapore. Their status in the wild is near-threatened; the species has been added to CITES Appendix I.

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Reader Comments
@Sue, the article is correct. the Galah averages 35cm while the Goffin/Tanimbar averages 32cm. the Goffins have a much bigger personality than their size.

Rick, International
Posted: 8/13/2015 7:59:09 AM
Am looking forward to reading the whole article, but beg to differ that there are "six cockatoo species" or that the goffins are the smallest. I guess you have not thought of the rose breasted cockatoo or galah, the corellas(C. sanguinea, C. tenuensus, C. pasternator)all of whom make wonderful pets/companions.
Sue, Perth Australia
Posted: 4/25/2010 5:47:53 AM
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