Young Zazu is about to be cooked and eaten by the young 3 hyenas (which explains his cry of "Oh, no! Not the birdie boiler!" in the first movie) Shenzi,Banzai and Ed, when a young Mufasa comes along, frightens off the hyenas and saves him. Zazu is thankful and hopes that he can be of service to the Lion King someday. Mufasa is doubtful of this. How could a small bird be of any use to a lion?
Zazu follows Mufasa around and watches over him. Mufasa tires of this quickly as Zazu disturbs his hunts and his private time with Sarabi.
One day Zazu notices some vultures hovering. He asks Mufasa if he wants him to fly over and see what's happening, but Mufasa is not concerned and lies down for a nap. Zazu flies over to where the vultures are anyway and sees that Sarabi has fallen into a pit and can't get out. Zazu flies back to tell Mufasa who leaps up and runs to the gorge. But Mufasa can't find a way to rescue Sarabi. Zazu finds a tree trunk that Mufasa drags over to the pit, allowing Sarabi to climb out.
Mufasa realizes that the little hornbill is useful after all and appoints him as royal advisor.
Zazu's mother, Zuzu, was a steward to Kopa's great-grandfather Ahadi. When Zazu was young, Zuzu trained him to take her place when Mufasa's rule began.
In the book, Zazu reports everything he sees and tends to jump to conclusions. He ends up reporting false stories to Mufasa as three young animals make up stories to trick Zazu. Zazu redeems himself though as he spies an army ant attack and alerts Mufasa to the problem.
Although trying to appear proper and dignified, Zazu seems to be a nervous wreck. As majordomo to King Mufasa,his proper, dignified, nervous, and easily-rattled personality is the polar opposite in temperament of Simba and Nala. He tends to panic during emergencies, such as the wildebeest stampede. But, Zazu is shown to have a sense of humor, as he was able to make a joke about turning Scar into a throwrug (To which Mufasa ends up laughing at).
Zazu's role in the film is primarily comic relief. As King Mufasa's majordomo and close friend (he is one of the few who call Mufasa by his name), he is very serious and always sticks to the rules, which contrasts with Simba's playful nature.
When Simba has grown into a cub, Zazu is often ridiculed by him, being the target in Simba's pouncing lessons. He is ordered to watch over the cubs by Sarabi when Simba claims he wants to go to the waterhole with Nala. In fact, Simba had been lured by Scar to go to the Elephant Graveyard, and after the song "I Just Can't Wait To Be King", Simba and Nala successfully lose Zazu and go to the graveyard. Zazu later catches up with them, but they encounter the three hyenas Shenzi, Banzai and Ed and the hornbill is put into the hyenas' "birdie boiler" geyser which rockets him up to the sky. Zazu manages to find Mufasa and lead him to the cubs, just in time to save them from the hyenas, although it is also implied shortly after the hyenas fled that, in addition to his being upset with Simba for deliberately disobeying him by going to the Elephant Graveyard, Mufasa was also upset at Zazu for failing to keep watch on them.
During the wildebeest stampede engineered by Scar to kill Mufasa and Simba, it is Zazu who leads Mufasa to Simba. As he watches the stampede, he wants to go back for help, but is struck by Scar into a wall and rendered unconscious. After Simba runs away, Zazu is shown comforting Sarabi after Scar tells the pride of Mufasa's and Simba's deaths. He also briefly appears in a scene after Scar has assumed the kingship of the Pride Lands. In this scene, Zazu is imprisoned and is being forced to entertain Scar by singing songs like "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" (but not before briefly singing the lyrics of It's A Small World).
When the hyenas come in to complain about the lack of food and water, Scar casually tells them to eat Zazu (although Scar also likely suggested to the Hyenas that they eat Zazu specifically as revenge for Zazu earlier mentioning Mufasa in a favorable light compared to Scar under his breath), and he frantically insists that he'd be "so tough and gamey and eyugh!" although the Hyenas ultimately decide not to eat him, unknowingly agreeing with Zazu about Mufasa being better.
Later on, Simba returns to reclaim his throne. Simba, the lionesses, Timon, Pumbaa, and Rafiki battle the hyenas. Zazu pleads Timon to let him out of the ribcage he is imprisoned in, but Timon goes inside the ribcage instead as he is pursued by the hyenas. Pumbaa comes to the rescue and chases away the hyenas after Banzai accidentally insults him. Zazu is freed along with Timon, and joins the battle. Later, Zazu is seen at Simba's ascension to the throne and during the presentation of Simba and Nala's newborn cub.
Zazu plays a minor role in the film, functioning mostly as a messenger. He is first seen at Kiara's presentation, signaling that everyone has gathered. He is next seen when Simba is lecturing Kiara before she goes out to play, and Zazu mentions the dangers of the outsiders, calling them backstabbing and murderous. Sometime later when a wildfire starts, Zazu is sent ahead by Simba to find Kiara, who had been out on her first solo hunt. When Zazu finds that Kiara is being rescued by Kovu, he reports the information back to Simba. After Kovu asks to join the pride, Zazu notes that royal protocol demands that debts (such as the one Simba owes Kovu for rescuing Kiara) must be repaid, though Zazu would be quite happy to make an exception. Later, after Simba is injured in an ambush by Zira and the Outsiders, he is sent by Kiara to find help. Finally, near the end of the film, he appears in a panic, reporting that the Outsiders are preparing to attack. In the end, Zazu is seen standing next to Timon and Pumbaa at the presentation of Kiara and Kovu's wedding to which Timon and Pumbaa start crying with happiness and Zazu covers himself from the wetness of their tears.
Zazu's appearances are extremely brief in The Lion King 1½. He is first seen at the presentation of Simba, talking to Mufasa. He is then seen going to rescue Simba from the hyenas with Mufasa. In the end credits for this film, he is incorrectly listed as "Zasu".
TV Show Appearances
Zazu appears as a main character in the series starring Timon and Pumbaa. Zazu appears in the episode "Once Upon a Timon" where he is researching the reasons that Timon became an outcast. He eventually learns the reasons from Rakifi, and the story becomes so engrossing, that Zazu forgets about a meeting with Simba. "Zazu's Off Day Off" has Zazu being forced to work on his day off when an elephant is blocking flow of the river.
"Zazu's Off-by-One Day" shows that Zazu is responsible for taking a census of the animals. However, he is fired by the jungle inspector when it's discovered that he missed one animal. As a result, his job is given to his gopher assistant. In an attempt to regain his job, Zazu searches for the animal he missed, only to discover that it was himself. Zazu along with Timon, Pumbaa, Simba, Rafiki, Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed are the only characters from The Lion King to appear in the series.
In the episode "Donald's Pumbaa Prank" he was kidnapped by Shenzi, Banzai and Ed and nearly eaten. He also makes a few cameos in Mickey's magical Christms seen alongside Rafiki and the others from the film.
The Lion Guard
In this midquel to The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Zazu is presented as a crucial part of Simba's life as King of the Pride Lands, serving as the lion's advisor and mentor, of sorts. Though they share a healthy relationship, now that Simba is an adult, their interactions occasionally echo that displayed during Simba's childhood, with Zazu giving words of advice to the lion, only to be met with a response of childish annoyance. This is prominently displayed throughout the episode "Can't Wait to be Queen", where Simba, Nala, and Zazu travel to a funeral being held for an elderly elephant who was a good friend to Simba. Zazu, throughout the events of the episode, is shown to have become far more patient and optimistic, though still pompous and talkative, much to Nala's amusement. Simba often looks to Zazu for guidance and sees him as a confidante, which the hornbill prides himself as.
Zazu makes a brief appearance in The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, where he leads Simba, Kiara and Tiifu to Kion after Kiara told Simba that Kion had chosen Bunga to be part of his Lion Guard. After Simba scolds Kion for treating his role as leader of The Lion Guard as a game, Zazu leaves with his King.
Songs Sung By Zazu
- The Morning Report
- I Just Can't Wait To Be King
- It's A Small World
- I Got A Lovely Brunch Of Coconuts
- Zuzu (Mother)
- The name "Zazu" means "Movement" in the Hebrew language.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge's first Abyssinian ground hornbill chick is named after Zazu and dubbed his cousin.
- He is the only major character from The Lion King who does not appear in Kingdom Hearts II.
- Zazu has shown the ability to remainin one spot mid-air, a very difficult flying ability. The only real world birds capable of that are the hummingbird and certain birds-of-prey like the kestrel, the latter doing so to pinpoint prey; birds-of-prey also cannot do so indefinitely.
- Japanese : Hideyuki Umezu (1994 – Present)
- English : Rowan Atkinson (1994), Edward Hibbert (1998 – 2004), Michael Gough (in Timon and Pumbaa), Jeff Bennett (in the "Morning Report"/The Lion Guard), John Oliver (2019 Live Action Film)
all information on Zazu came from http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Zazu