|Hatchling - Adult|
The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
The Lion King 1½
The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
The Lion Guard
Small and almost delicate-looking, Zazu boasts a tiny but colorful array of feathers. His chest is small and oval-shaped, and his neck is long and thin, with his tail being tall and pluming. His beak proves to be his most prominent feature, colored a bright red with a patch of yellow near his nostrils. His feathers are light blue, tipped with lines of white and navy at the wingtips and the tailtip. His chest is pale blue, almost white, while his eye shades are a clear shade of sky blue. A dark blue feather protrudes off the back of his head, and thick bushy eyebrows grow above a set of small dark eyes. Despite his age, Zazu is a handsome bird, in good shape and radiant in color.
Zazu bears many resemblances to his mother, echoing her slim body type and coloration schemes. Like Zuzu, he is small and slight with a bright red beak, though his feathers are royal blue as opposed to her more violet shades.
Perhaps one of the most noble birds to ever take to the skies, Zazu's heart is sworn to duty. Even at the cost of his life, he protects those under his care, undergoing abuse and threat of death in order to keep his charges safe. Even in everyday life, the hornbill shows fierce determination to follow his job, displaying disdain for those who radiate disrespect or disobedience toward Zazu's king. A bit peckish, Zazu takes his duty almost too far, especially with Scar, unafraid to chide the much larger lion for crimes committed against Mufasa.
Especially when duty is on the line, Zazu can be cynical and irritable. He often makes a show of scoffing at those he disapproves of, an attitude which shines through whenever he is around Scar. Zazu is not known to be tactful but rather painstakingly honest and very vocal in his opinions. Despite his occasional rudeness, Zazu is considerably formal, playing the role of mediator between Mufasa and Scar. He takes his role as majordomo very seriously and often assumes authority over those under Mufasa's scrutiny. Zazu's tie to his king is very apparent in the manner in which he defends Mufasa's decisions and mannerisms, and practically follows the king around the Pride Lands. Reverent and duty-bound, Zazu will follow Mufasa to the ends of the Earth, even putting up with the king's high-energy son to do so.
A duty-bound bird of formality does not mix well with a rambunctious cub, and Zazu's patience often wears thin when around youngsters. Especially around those of high energy, Zazu is flighty and nervous, ready to uphold his dignity and high status. He can be short-tempered when disciplining Simba, though his irritation with the cub holds much less malice than his irritation with Scar. Unlike Mufasa, Zazu is not one to mess around and would rather stick to his job than playtime. Despite this, Zazu does show his gentle and comforting side when Simba is frightened, revealing the hornbill to be somewhat parental on the inside, even if he doesn't often show it.
Zazu is not completely without jest, though his jokes tend to be drier in humor. His natural lack of tact mixed with banter results in somewhat offensive jokes, though the hornbill usually means no harm by them, seen in the cheeky smiles he usually gives upon delivery. Even more than jokes, Zazu enjoys gossip and can be quite the social butterfly, a trait of his which slackens as he grows older. Still, the hornbill can hardly resist waggling his tongue about the animals of the Pride Lands, even in his formal reports to Mufasa.
Zazu's minimal control of his tongue mirrors his inability to control himself in dire circumstances. When in a moment of great distress, the hornbill often loses his head, panicking until the situation is under control. He is easily ruffled, and though he wants to help those in need, he more often than not adds stress to the situation with his loud outbursts and overwrought movements. With a loose grip on self-control, Zazu is a bird of order and finds it difficult to stop himself from panicking until the world is back in alignment.
- "Thank you for saving my life, Mufasa. I hope that one day I may be of service to the future Lion King."
- —Zazu to Mufasa
Zazu's family was first asked to serve as majordomos to the Lion King when Ahadi appointed Zazu's mother Zuzu to become the first majordomo of the Pride Lands. Zazu later took up the title himself after being coached by his mother about the job.
The young hornbill also had an encounter with Mufasa when the prince saved Zazu from the slavering jaws of the hyenas. Zazu was thankful and hoped that he could be of service to the future Lion King someday, to which Mufasa was doubtful. However, one day, Zazu noticed some hovering vultures and saw that Sarabi had fallen into a pit and couldn't get out. Zazu flew back to tell Mufasa, who leaped up and ran to the Gorge. Mufasa couldn't find a way to rescue Sarabi, so Zazu found a tree trunk that Mufasa dragged over to the pit, allowing Sarabi to climb out. Mufasa saw that the little hornbill was useful after all and appointed him to be his majordomo.
- "Step lively. The sooner we get to the Water Hole, the sooner we can leave."
- —Zazu to Simba and Nala
Zazu is first seen flying over the animals heading toward Pride Rock to see the newborn Simba, and bows before Mufasa when he lands on Pride Rock.
Zazu is next seen telling Scar about playing with the prey that he has caught. He also warns Scar that he'd better have a good excuse for not attending the presentation of Simba. Annoyed, Scar jumps the bird and temporarily eats him. Just in time, Mufasa shows up to chastise his brother, who reluctantly spits Zazu onto the ground. Now with Mufasa to protect him, Zazu continues berating Scar, reminding him that as the king's brother, he should have been first in line at the ceremony. Unaffected by the chastising, Scar acts rudely toward Mufasa, who asks him if he's proposing a challenge. Scar replies that he would never dream of fighting with Mufasa. Zazu comments that that's a pity and asks why Scar did not want to face his brother in combat, to which Scar replies that his strongest weapon is the brain, and then leaves. Zazu tells Mufasa that every family has one unruly member (and adds that his family has two) and that such family members always spoil special events. Mufasa thoughtfully wonders what to do with Scar, and Zazu jokes that Scar should be made into a good rug. He then adds cheekily that Mufasa should throw him out and beat him whenever he becomes dirty. The two friends leave the cave, chuckling.
Months later, Zazu can be seen telling Mufasa the morning report and is pounced on by Simba, who was being coached by Mufasa on pouncing. Then the mole appears and informs Zazu that the hyenas have illegally entered the Pride Lands. Zazu informs Mufasa about it, and Mufasa leaves to intervene in this regard, telling Zazu to take Simba home. Simba is disappointed that he can't attend the fight, but Zazu tries to raise his morale, reminding Simba that he will one day be king and will be able to chase the hyenas from morning till evening.
When Simba and Nala agree to go to the Water Hole, Sarabi instructs Zazu to accompany them. Along the way, the cubs perform "I Just Can't Wait to be King," temporarily losing Zazu, but the hornbill finds them again at the Elephant Graveyard. During the encounter with the hyenas, he is captured by the hyenas and exploded out the top of a geyser. He reappears as Mufasa fights off the hyenas, implying that he must have warned the king about the cubs being in danger. He is later frowned down upon by Mufasa for not protecting the cubs.
That evening, Zazu, Nala, Simba, and Mufasa return home. At one point, Mufasa stops and angrily calls Zazu to him. Zazu fearfully asks him what he wants, and Mufasa tells him that he needs to take Nala home while Simba will stay with Mufasa for a father-son talk. Zazu comes to cubs and tells Nala that they should go. He then turns to Simba and puts his wings on the cub's shoulders, wishing him luck. He and Nala then go home.
Later, Zazu is with Mufasa near the Gorge and is alerted by Scar that a stampede of wildebeests is occurring with Simba in danger. Zazu flies down to the Gorge and finds Simba hanging from the edge of a dead tree. In a panic, he informs Mufasa, who throws himself into the stampede after his son. As Zazu watches the stampede, he reacts in panic and tries to look for help before he is struck by Scar into a wall and rendered unconscious.
When Scar gives his eulogy to Mufasa and Simba, Zazu is shown comforting Sarabi. He also briefly appears in a scene after Scar assumes the kingship of the Pride Lands. In this scene, Zazu is imprisoned and is being forced to entertain Scar by singing songs. First, he tries "It's a Small World," only for Scar to interrupt, asking for another song, to which Zazu sings "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts." As Scar enjoys singing this new tune, Zazu laments not having to do this for Mufasa, and Scar quickly interrogates him and warns him never to mention that name in his presence. When the hyenas come in to complain about the lack of food and water, Scar casually tells them to eat Zazu, but the hornbill frantically insists that he'd be too tough and gamey.
Later on, Simba returns to reclaim his throne. Simba, the lionesses, Timon, Pumbaa, and Rafiki battle the hyenas. Zazu pleads with Timon to let him out of the ribcage he is imprisoned in, but Timon shoves his way 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. Finally, Zazu witnesses Simba's ascension to the throne and flies around Pride Rock during the presentation of Simba and Nala's newborn cub.
- "Mmm, yes, sire. Clearly we are in his debt, and royal protocol demands that all debts be paid. Though in this case, you might want to make an exception."
- —Zazu to Simba about Kovu
After witnessing the presentation of Kiara, Zazu is seen with Simba, who is lecturing Kiara about Zira and the Outsiders. Zazu joins in on the warnings, calling the Outsiders "backstabbers." Years later, when Kiara is a young lioness, Zazu assures Simba that she will be fine on her first hunt until Simba notices that a wildfire has started.
Zazu is sent ahead by Simba to find Kiara. 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 law demands that debts (such as the one Simba owes Kovu for rescuing Kiara) must be repaid, though he is 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 reacts in panic when reporting that the Outsiders are preparing to attack. At the same time, Simba learns that Kiara has fled the Pride Lands, to which Simba sends Zazu to find her. At the end of the film, Zazu spectates the union of Kiara and Kovu, a ceremony which makes Timon and Pumbaa start crying with happiness. Annoyed, Zazu covers himself from the wetness of their tears.
Zazu's appearances are extremely brief in this film. He is first seen at the presentation of Simba, talking to Mufasa about how the animals are kneeling before the new prince. He is later seen with Mufasa, alerting him that the hyenas are after Simba and Nala.
In the stage production of The Lion King, Zazu's role is slightly expanded. Zazu, like in the Platinum Edition version of the film, sings "The Morning Report" before being pounced on by Simba. The musical version of the song is longer than its film counterpart. There is also a scene in which Zazu reminds Mufasa that he was just like Simba when he was a cub.
In the musical, Zazu is a puppet controlled by an actor dressed in blue, striped clothes and a bowler hat, much like a stereotypical butler. Zazu's blue feathers have been replaced with white, and the puppet is partially constructed from parachute silk, with a slinky contained in the neck for ease in movement.
In the English touring production, Zazu is portrayed with a Glaswegian accent and when Mufasa threatens (in jest) to fire him, he exclaims 'you can't send me back to Glasgow!'
In certain English productions of the show, Zazu breaks the fourth wall to communicate directly with the audience.
In the original Broadway production, when being blocked by curtains at the beginning of the "I Just Can't wait to Be King" number, he shouts out, "This didn't happen in the movie!" or "These look like shower curtains from Target!" This later changed to 'this wasn't in the cartoon!' and 'this looks like a shower curtain from IKEA!'
At the start of the story, Zazu is reporting to Simba, warning the king that the Pridelanders are in disarray with one another, unwilling to share the Water Hole. When Simba asks if there's anything he can do about it, Zazu admits that he's tried and that no one will listen to him. Despite the crisis, Rafiki insists on telling Simba, Nala, their son Kopa, and Zazu a story from when Mufasa and Scar were cubs. At the tale's end, Zazu proclaims that he had been exceptionally proud when his mother became the king's majordomo.
Along with other Pridelanders, Zazu helps Simba and Nala save their son Kopa from the claws of hungry vultures.
Zazu can be seen reporting to an exhausted Simba at the start of the story.
At the start of the book, Zazu is telling Kopa stories about his younger days, one of which involves a valuable lesson learned in spreading gossip. When Zazu was younger, he reported everything to Mufasa, even personal business among the animals, which sparked anger and resentment from the Pridelanders. Intent on getting their revenge, a group of young animals began to feed lies to Zazu, who, in turn, told Mufasa. After numerous lies, Mufasa began to distrust Zazu. However, the hornbill later regained his trust when he reported an army ant attack on the Pride Lands and helped to save the kingdom. After this instance, the young animals were ashamed, and both they and Zazu learned their respective lessons in telling lies and spreading gossip.
Zazu informs Simba that Outsiders have invaded the Pride Lands.
Zazu appears in every level, notifying the player about his goals and marking the checkpoints after a certain amount of time.
Curiously, while Zazu plays a supporting role in the films, he doesn't appear in the video game Kingdom Hearts II with the other characters. However, Donald's Bird form bears a vague resemblance to Zazu. Zazu does appear in the Kingdom Hearts II manga.
Zazu appears as a bonus unlockable costume character which can be unlocked in one of the Alice in Wonderland levels. He is only available in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game as a DLC.
Strangely, though he is only available as a store exclusive DLC, he appears in the intro of the game alongside Simba in the Monsters Inc. world, opening a door for another guest, and then he is later seen running away when HEX takes over the Disney Universe.
Zazu appears as a recurring character in the series starring Timon and Pumbaa.
Zazu appears in the episode "Once Upon a Timon," where he is researching the reason that Timon became an outcast. He eventually learns the reason from Rafiki, and the story becomes so engrossing that Zazu forgets about a meeting with Simba.
"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.
He also makes two cameos in the show. His first cameo is in "The Sky is Calling" after Pumbaa gets a tall lump from accidentally banging his head. Several birds that look like Zazu can be seen flying around the wound.
Zazu's second cameo is in the episode "Rumble in the Jungle," where he makes several cameos as the wrestling judge during Timon and Pumbaa's wrestling matches against each other. Zazu's job is to whack the bell with a hammer at the start of each and every match.
Zazu's third cameo is in "Truth Be Told," where he talks with Rafiki about the Friendship Of The Year Banquet being the same boring routine every year. He is also seen in the crowd of animals, repeating this to himself.
Zazu makes two cameos during the short.
In the episode "Donald's Pumbaa Prank," Zazu is kidnapped by Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed and nearly eaten. He also makes a few cameos in Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, being seen alongside Rafiki and others from the film.
It's a Small World
Zazu makes a brief, non-speaking cameo in the animated mini-series episode "One Golden Sun."
- Mother: Zuzu
- The Lion King - (1994) - (film) - Rowan Atkinson (speaking and singing), Jeff Bennett ("The Morning Report")
- The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa - (1995) - (TV series) - Michael Gough
- Zazu's line, "There's one in every family sire...two in mine actually," could be a nod to Babazu and Nazu, two deleted hornbills who were possibly related to him.
- Zazu once didn't say a word for nearly three days.
- When Simba descends after defeating Scar, Zazu is seen moving his lips, but the audio is never heard. He was supposed to say, "Your Majesty." This mistake was intentional according to Mouse Under Glass, as the filmmakers wanted the scene to be a quiet moment.
- Zazu was to have a mate named Binti in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, but her character was deleted.
- In the final movie, the cubs fled from Zazu when a rhino sat on him. In earlier concepts, they ditched Zazu at the Water Hole.
- When Zazu accidentally says Mufasa's name in Scar's presence, he was originally supposed to stroke his ruler's ego.
- At one point during production, Zazu was going to have black wings with red tips.
|Preceded by||Succession Right||Succeeded by|
|Zuzu||Son of Zuzu||None|
|Characters from The Lion King|
|Characters from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride|
|Characters from The Lion King 1½|