A high-spirited young falcon determined to be independent of his stifling father discovers that the greatest thing he can fight for is community.
On the edge of an enormous waterfall, in the heart of Africa, lies the bird city of Zambezia. Famous for its impregnable defenses against egg predators, it has become the breeding sanctuary for birds from throughout the river valley. With half of its massive Baobab shell gone, Zambezia City is the ultimate tree house, humming with birds on every level, from its roots at the base, to the platforms high in the leafy tops.
Khaya, an exuberant falcon on the cusp of adulthood is bored and lonely living in remote Batoka with only his stern father, Tendai, for company. Forbidden from venturing beyond the Batoka Boundary, his suspicions that there must be more to life are confirmed when Gogo, a kooky Stork, crashes into his world. From her, Khayalearns that upriver there is an amazing, bustling bird-city called Zambezia which seems to offer marvellous opportunities for a talented flier such as himself. In an angry exchange with Tendai, Khaya discovers that his father has been keeping the city a secret from him. Betrayed and hurt, Khaya leaves Batoka determined to join the Hurricanes, an elite defence patrol made up of the best fliers on Zambezia.
When he reaches the great bird city - a majestic Baobab perched on the edge of Victoria Falls - Khaya is overwhelmed by the throngs of birds from all over Africa who are busy preparing for the Spring Celebrations. But he soon befriends a fast-talking, charismatic Nightjar called Zed who knows how to enjoy the perks of community life. He is also particularly taken with a feisty, but compassionate weaver, Tini, the adopted daughter of the city’s founder, Sekhuru. Although Khaya's upbringing and training hasn’t made him a good team player, his skilful flying earns him a place on the Hurricanes, and Khaya thinks he has got it made!
Unbeknownst to him and the rest of the Zambezians, however, two Marabou Storks tired of scavenging off the scraps of Zambezia have joined forces with Budzo, a vicious egg-eating Leguaan, and hatched a plan to destroy the island city. To make matters worse, Budzo captures Khaya’s father and holds him hostage. In order to save Zambezia and Tendai, will Khaya be able to face the past and do what his father could not: weigh the cost of community and decide that it’s worth it? Most of all, will Khaya learn that no matter how fast and talented a flier he is, no bird is an island?