These birds are naturally curious, as well as very intelligent and are very long-lived. They can live upwards of 70 years in captivity, although they only live to about 20–40 years in the wild.
Species that feed on the ground are very vulnerable to predator attack. The Cockatoo has evolved a behavioural adaptation to protect against this: whenever there is a flock on the ground, there is at least one high up in a tree (usually a dead tree), keeping guard.
This is so well known that it has even entered Australian slang: a person keeping guard for sudden police raids on illegal gambling gatherings is referred to as a cockatoo or cocky for short.
Studies have proven that Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are capable of synchronising movements to a musical beat.