The Goffin’s cockatoo (cacatua goffiniana) is the smallest member of the cockatoo family. They are about 12” in length and weigh 250-300 grams on average. The goffins are an all-white bird except for the coral and tan feathers surrounding the beak and the splash of yellow beneath the wings and tail. There is a subtle coral cast beneath their contour feathering that is most evident in bright lighting, a feature they share with their larger cousin, the Moluccan cockatoo. Their beak is light gray and a fleshy blue ring surrounds their eyes.
The male and female of the species are identical in plumage, but the male tends to be heavier with larger feet and a flatter head. Gender can sometimes be determined by eye color – the females have reddish-brown eyes whereas the male’s eyes are dark brown. This is not a 100% accurate means of determining sex, however.
The goffins cockatoo is native to Indonesia’s Tanimbar Islands, a limited range that was devastated by deforestation in the 1970s. It is now thought that there are more goffins cockatoos living in captivity than in the wild.
Wild goffins cockatoos typically inhabit the coastal lowland forests and flock in large groups that are known to noisily raid farmland, leaving the maize crops in ruins. Additionally, their diet consists of seeds, nuts, berries, fruit, flower blossoms, and insect larvae.
During the breeding season, the goffins cockatoo can be found in pairs or in small flocks. A typical clutch is 2-3 eggs which incubate for 30 days. The average lifespan of captive goffins is estimated between 30 and 40 years. As is the case with all of the cockatoos which inhabit the islands of Indonesia, very little is known about the habits of the Goffin’s cockatoo.
In captivity, this small and relatively quiet species has become a popular parrot. While cockatoos are known to be some of the most difficult parrots to manage from a behavioral standpoint, they are an intelligent and interactive species that can thrive with proper guidance.
These energetic and inquisitive birds want to be where the action is at all times. They love spending time with their humans and generally do well as the family birds. Being active, they utilize every inch of their cage and require a lot of entertainment in the form of toys.
The Goffin’s cockatoo seems to be a parrot with a background in engineering. They are famous for their ability to “break out” of any cage, regardless of the measures their owner takes to contain them. Once they watch you open the main door or feeder doors only once or twice, they begin to plot their escape.