Zazu is the hornbill adviser for Mufasa, and later Simba, from The Lion King. He is extremely organized and proper but also a bit of a coward. He is the main singer for "The Morning Report" in which he gives the account of the Pride Lands. During "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" he tells Simba that he has a long way to go before he becomes king.
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.
Also, in certain English productions of the show, Zazu breaks the fourth wall. In the original Broadway production when, being blocked by curtains at the beginning of the "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" number, shouts out "This didn't happen in the movie!" or "These look like shower curtains from Target!" (Ikea in some productions) and also, at the end of the number, the puppet is taken from his head and he cries out "Give me back my bird, Zazu!" The Memphis tour changes the curtain reference to "Graceland"; the London production "IKEA", the Singapore production to "Mustafa" and the Hawaii production "Hilo Hattie". The Toronto production had him make references to Honest Ed's, the original business of the theatre's owner, Ed Mirvish. Zazu also attacks his puppeteer, stating, "This is your fault!"
Zazu's family was first asked to serve as majordomos to the King when Kopa's great grandfather 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.