There has been a continuous need for high active, excellently durable and low-cost electrocatalysts for rechargeable zinc-air batteries. Among many low-cost metal based candidates, transition metal oxides with the CNTs composite have gained increasing attention. In this paper, the 3-D hollow sphere MnO2 nanotube-supported Co3O4 nanoparticles and its carbon nanotubes hybrid material (Co3O4/MnO2-CNTs) have been synthesized via a simple co-precipitation method combined with post-heat treatment. The morphology and composition of the catalysts are thoroughly analyzed through SEM, TEM, TEM-mapping, XRD, EDX and XPS. In comparison with the commercial 20% Pt/C, Co3O4/MnO2, bare MnO2 nanotubes and CNTs, the hybrid Co3O4/MnO2-CNTs-350 exhibits perfect bi-functional catalytic activity toward oxygen reduction reaction and oxygen evolution reaction under alkaline condition (0.1 M KOH). Therefore, high cell performances are achieved which result in an appropriate open circuit voltage (∼1.47 V), a high discharge peak power density (340 mW cm−2) and a large specific capacity (775 mAh g−1 at 10 mA cm−2) for the primary Zn-air battery, a small charge–discharge voltage gap and a high cycle-life (504 cycles at 10 mA cm−2 with 10 min per cycle) for the rechargeable Zn-air battery. In particular, the simple synthesis method is suitable for a large-scale production of this bifunctional material due to a green, cost effective and readily available process.