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Goffin’s Cockatoo (Cacatua goffini): The Natural History and Captive Care of a Popular but Little-Studied Psittacine – Goffin Cockatoos as Pets – Part II

Click: Goffin’s Cockatoo (Cacatua goffini): The Natural History and Captive Care of a Popular but Little-Studied Psittacine – Goffin Cockatoos as Pets – Part I, for the first part of this article.

Goffin CockatooBe sure to install a full spectrum bird bulb over your pet’s cage. Please see my articles Providing the Proper Type and Amount of Light to Your Pet Bird and Lighting for Your Pet Bird: the Importance of Photoperiods for further information.Feeding
Goffin’s cockatoos consume a wide range of foods in the wild, and are at their best when provided with a rich, varied diet in captivity. The basis of their diet should be a high quality pellet, such as Lafeber Premium Pelleted Daily Diet for Macaws and Cockatoos, supplemented with nuts and seeds as contained in Sun Seed Vita Large Hookbill Bird Food. Lafeber Nutri-Berries and similar products can be used as treats and rewards.

Your cockatoo will also relish corn on the cob, broccoli, carrots and other fruits and vegetables, and should always have access to a cuttlebone.

Wild Goffin’s cockatoos are known to consume beetle larvae and other insects, and may have a higher need for animal-based protein than do their relatives. Most experienced aviculturists provide Goffin’s cockatoos with approximately ¼ of a hard-boiled egg each week or so.

Captive Longevity
Although typical longevities in the USA average 40 years, there are records of Goffin’s cockatoos living into their 60’s and 70’s, with individuals kept by European aviculturists reproducing until age 40.

This species is among the easiest of the cockatoos to train, and often becomes an affectionate pet. Like most cockatoos, it may bond to and jealously “guard” a favored person. Hand-reared birds, weaned between ages 12-16 weeks, usually make the best pets.

Breeding is best undertaken in a large outdoor aviary. The pair generally mates for life. The iris of the male is dark brown, while that of the hen is reddish-brown.

The nest box should measure 24″ x 16″ x 16″, and have an entrance hole of 4″ in diameter. The male usually incubates by day, the female by night. Please see “Reproduction” in a prior article for further details.

Goffin’s are fine talkers but do not enunciate their words as clearly as do some other parrots. Like all cockatoos, they shed a fine, powdery down.

An interesting article on feral Goffin’s cockatoos and other parrots in Florida, published in the Florida Field Naturalist, is posted at:

Image referenced from Wikipedia Commons

Goffin’s Cockatoo (Cacatua goffini): The Natural History and Captive Care of a Popular but Little-Studied Psittacine – Goffin Cockatoos as Pets – Part I


Goffins CockatooI had my first contact with Goffin’s cockatoos in the mid 1970’s, while working for a bird importer. At that time, they were among the least expensive of the parrots, and for this reason were branded as a poor choice for a pet. Yet even in the importer’s chaotic holding rooms, amid thousands of other birds, I noticed that they stood out somehow – calm and, if given a chance, eager to engage with people.

As it turned out, these Indonesian natives have proven to be among the most gentle, and easily trained of the cockatoos. These qualities, combined with their small size and quiet tendencies (“quiet”, in that they are less likely to let loose with the “ear-bleeding” screams of their larger relatives) render the Goffin’s an ideal “first cockatoo”.

Enclosure and Physical Environment
Cockatoos are among the most active of the parrots, expressing themselves more with body and beak than with sound, and the Goffin’s is no exception. Your Goffin’s cockatoo will require a larger cage than other birds of a similar size.

The smallest cage I would recommend is the A&E Bird Dometop Cage (36″ x 28″ x 65″), but a macaw-sized model (i.e. A&E Bird Stainless Steel Bird Cage) is preferable. When choosing your pet’s cage, bear in mind that it will likely spend most of its time therein – more so than other parrots, cockatoos are liable to get into trouble if left out unsupervised. They are just too inquisitive and athletic to be given the run of a room unless carefully watched.

Your Goffin’s cage should be outfitted with a wide variety of perches of various materials and thicknesses….rope perches are especially appreciated and will give rise to all sorts of acrobatic performances. Your bird’s feet should extend ¾ of the way around the perch upon which it spends most of its time. Please see my article Choosing the Proper Perch for Pet Parrots, Finches, Canaries and other Birds for more detailed information.

Goffin’s cockatoos must be kept occupied when left alone. Provide your pet with a rotating supply of heavy duty parrot toys, especially models that can be dismantled. I’ve had great feedback on the Fetch It Pets Fill Your Own Piñata – your Goffin’s should have a ball with that one.


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