In all plumages shows a prominent yellowish eye-ring, a dark malar stripe on a pale yellow background, a grey-brown mantle with prominent dark streaking, and a grey-brown rump. The underparts of Ortolan Bunting Bird are variably tinged rusty-buff, palest in a juvenile but quite orangey-brown in the male. The Ortolan Bunting Bird (male) has a clean grey-green head and a pale yellow throat and moustachial stripe, duller in the female, which also has some fine streaking and spotting on the upper breast, malar stripe and crown. Juveniles are more streaky, with a grey-brown head.
Ortolan Bunting Bird is a scarce migrant to Britain, with a few in spring along the east coasts or in autumn in the southwest. Ortolan Bunting Bird is a summer visitor to eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and also occurs quite widely in the Mediterranean basin. It favours sunny aspects, such as trees along woodland edges and clearings, farmland with hedgerows, scattered copses, vineyards, orchards and parks, and in the southern part of its range can be found on bare rocky mountain slopes with bushy thickets. It feeds on the ground, and migrants can often be found in stubble fields.
The typical call of Ortolan Bunting Bird is a sharp mettalic, disyllabic and sparrow like chirpy "chleuu" or a shorter, flatter "chleep" and also a piping "chu". Autumn migrants typically give a flat and clipped "plic" or "plett" when flushed. The song is rather slow and mournful ditty with ringing quality, a simple collection of notes lasting 1.3-1.6 seconds, recalling the Yellow Hammer's song and with a change in note near the end, such as "swea-swea-swea-swea-swea druu druu druu". More often in the southern part of their range, the final part is truncated to a single note, as in "siu-siu-siu-siu-siu-siu hweurr".