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What is a Goffin Cockatoo?

The Goffin Cockatoo is a charming, intelligent bird, renowned for its playful nature and problem-solving skills. Native to the Tanimbar Islands in Indonesia, these white-feathered parrots form strong bonds with their owners. With a penchant for mimicry and a need for social interaction, they make delightful, if demanding, companions. Wondering how they can enrich your life? Let's uncover their world together.
DM Gutierrez
DM Gutierrez

The Goffin cockatoo, or Cacatua goffini, is a relatively small cockatoo found only in Indonesia’s Tenimber Islands. Full-grown Goffin cockatoos are about a foot (.3048 meter) long and weigh about a pound (453 grams). They are primarily white with pink crest feathers usually only visible when the crest is erect. Males and females can be easily distinguished by their eye color—males have black irises while females have brown.

The bird, also known as Goffin’s cockatoo or the Tenimber cockatoo, is a member of the parrot family. The estimated Goffin cockatoo population is 300,000 to 400,000. This cockatoo is not listed as endangered in its natural habitat, although habitat loss and illegal trapping are decreasing its numbers. It sometimes can be legally culled due to its interference with crops and gardens. Gardeners and farmers often see the Goffin cockatoo as a pest, since its diet consists mainly of fruit, seeds, and nuts, though this bird occasionally eats insects.


This species of cockatoo congregates in small, loosely-organized flocks. Goffin’s cockatoos become sexually mature at 2 to 3 years of age. In the wild, females usually nest in the hollows of trees, laying a clutch of from two to six eggs. Both parents typically engage in incubating the eggs until they hatch in about a month.

The Goffin’s cockatoo is important to its natural forested habitat because it disperses seeds over a wide range through its fruit-eating behavior. This seed dispersal leads to increased plant yield and heightened ecological diversity. This smallest member of the parrot family is also prey for many native predators larger than itself.

The bird often lives up to 65 years. Since this pet often outlives its owner, many owners name guardians for their Goffin cockatoos in their wills. The Goffin cockatoo typically adapts easily to living with humans and is highly sought after as a pet in the United States and around the world. This cockatoo is considered relatively easy to train and is often shown in competitions. A natural mimic, the Goffin cockatoo can make animal sounds and imitate human speech. Many Goffin cockatoos are reported to react to music with dance-like movements such as bobbing and swaying.

Since it is typically playful and active in captivity, most Goffin cockatoo owners provide their pets with a variety of toys, bells, and ladders to keep them busy. When bored, this bird often pulls out its feathers, screeches loudly, or destroys the contents of its cage. Most pet experts suggest allowing the Goffin cockatoo to spend as much or more time outside its cage as inside it.

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