Matomo-Image-Tracker Psittaciformes - Cacatua - Goffins


Goffin's cockatoo - Cacatua Goffiniana - Near Threatened

The Goffin's cockatoo (Cacatua goffiniana) also known as Tanimbar corella, is a species of cockatoo endemic to forests of Yamdena, Larat and Selaru, all islands in the Tanimbar Islands archipelago in Indonesia. The species has been introduced to the Kai Islands, Indonesia, Puerto Rico and Singapore. This species was only formally described in 2004, after it was discovered that the previous formal descriptions pertained to individuals of a different cockatoo species, the Ducorps' or Solomons cockatoo (Cacatua ducorpsii). Goffin's Cockatoos are the smallest of the white cockatoos. This species is Near Threatened due to deforestation and bird trade. The species breeds well in captivity and there is a large avicultural population.


Goffin's cockatoo weigh, on average, about 250 g for females and 300 g for males. They are about 31 cm (12 in) from head to tail.

Like all members of the family Cacatuidae, the Goffin's cockatoo is crested, meaning it has a collection of feathers on its head that it can raise or lower. Its body is mainly covered with white feathers, with salmon or pink colored feathers between the beak and eyes. The deeper (proximal) parts of the crest feathers and neck feathers are also a salmon color, but the coloration here is hidden by the white color of the more superficial (distal) areas of these feathers. The underside of its wing and tail feathers exhibit a yellowish tinge. The beak is pale grey and eye color ranges from brown to black. Both sexes are similar. They are often confused with the little corella (bare-eyed cockatoo) due to their similar appearance.

The maximum recorded lifespan for a captive Goffin's cockatoo is 26 years – though this figure may be a significant under-representation, considering the long-lived nature of many other cockatoo species.


Due to ongoing habitat loss on Tanimbar, limited range and illegal hunting, the Tanimbar corella is evaluated as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The species is listed on Appendix I of CITES. In the 1970s, Japanese loggers ravaged the islands. Many of the dazed, disoriented birds were captured for the pet trade. Although many died from stress during shipment, there may be a small silver lining behind this ecological disaster, because many Goffin's cockatoo have reproduced in captive breeding programs. As such, there are now more Goffin's cockatoo in captivity than in the wild.

In aviculture

In aviculture the parrot is widely known as the Goffin's cockatoo. Pet birds hand-reared from hatching can imitate human speech, but generally they are not good talkers.[citation needed] They are generally quieter than the "large cockatoos" but can still be quite loud, and they have a sharp screech that some find irritating. They can make good pets, as they are friendly and sociable when properly socialized. Like most cockatoos, they enjoy being handled and stroked. They are intelligent and they can be trained and can learn tricks.

Goffin's cockatoo learn by watching and copying. Just by opening the cage door, their attention can be drawn to the latch on its cage and it can learn by trial and error how to open the latch with its beak and escape the cage in seconds. Goffin's cockatoo can destroy furniture with their beaks and can chew through wires and cause potentially dangerous electrical incidents.

Hand-reared Goffin's cockatoo tend to demand a lot of attention. Occasionally, captive birds of this species (like many cockatoos) develop self-destructive behaviors such as feather-plucking, or stereotypy if they do not have an interesting and enriching environment. Caged Goffin's cockatoo require a frequent change of toys to play with so they do not become bored. They need time out of their cage for one-on-one social contact of at least four hours daily and also to exercise their wings and fly. Even very tame birds can bite humans when irritated or even when being excessively playful. Their droppings are semi-solid and can be messy. Many new bird owners are not aware of the time and money a cockatoo demands and pet birds are often passed from one owner to the next or relinquished to animal shelters.

Goffin's cockatoo chicks make a repetitive soft howling/screeching noise when they are hungry.

In the UK their sale is controlled as they are classified as a rare species. Each bird must have an official certificate to prove that it was captive-bred and not imported.


Tool use behavior has been observed in the Goffin's cockatoo in captivity. It was reported in November 2012 by Professor Alice Aursperg of the University of Vienna, that a cock bird named Figaro was observed spontaneously shaping splinters of wood and small sticks in order to create rakes that were then utilized, enabling him to extend his reach and retrieve otherwise unavailable food items located upon the other side of his aviary mesh.

In July 2013, the results of a joint study involving scientists from University of Oxford, the University of Vienna and the Max Planck Institute, again involving the Goffin's cockatoo of the Vienna Goffin Lab, were announced. It was discovered that the birds possessed the ability to solve complex mechanical problems, in one case spontaneously working out how to open a five-part locking mechanism in sequence to retrieve a food item. The corellas were able to very quickly adapt their behavior and again open the lock when the mechanism sections were modified or re-ordered, demonstrating an apparent concept of working towards a particular goal and knowledge of the way in which physical objects act upon each other – rather than merely an ability to repeat a learned sequence of actions.

A later experiment also conducted at the Vienna Goffin Lab by Prof. Aursperg and her team broadly adapted the Stanford marshmallow experiment for the Goffin's cockatoo, to investigate whether the birds were capable of self-control and of anticipating a delayed gain. The corellas were given the opportunity to exchange a favored food item (in this case a pecan nut) for an even more desirable nut (a cashew), if they were only able to hold the first nut for a period of time and then return it to the human researcher's hand uneaten – at which point the nuts would be exchanged. Although pecan nuts are normally consumed instantly, it was discovered that the corellas could resist the temptation to eat the nut for periods of time for up to 80 seconds once aware that a cashew was also on offer. This behavior (having also previously been demonstrated in corvids) further disproves the previous belief that birds are incapable of self-control. Further work by Aursperg’s team, published in November 2018, showed that the corellas would cut cardboard to length with their beak, to obtain a reward, but seemed unable to understand to change the width of the tools.


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