Small bird (approx 17 cm or 6.5 in). Greyish brown upperparts with darker strips on the wings. Ocher breast and head with brown and grey or greenish tones. Throat in yellow tones. Orange brown belly. In winter females and males with more muted and discreet tones. Very marked eye ring and moustachial stripe, both yellow.
Species of middle mountain where it occupies open spaces with wooded and dispersed scrub, borders of farmland and orchards. Typical of the northern half of the peninsula with summer populations in Sierra Nevada.
Species present only during the migratory passage in the province. This bunting breeds at the end of May. Nest on the ground. One annual laying of 3 to 6 eggs. It feeds on insects and on seeds in winter.
Uncommon bird but that during the migration can be watched in almost any part of the province. There have been accounts of observations in the Sierra de Mijas and Sierra Blanca (Marbella).
In France, ortolan buntings are considered a delicacy of haute cuisine. They are hunted with net, fattened up and roasted soaked in armagnac. Although its capture is prohibited, it is a rite of initiation for the French gourmet that the current great chefs ask to legalize. In December of 1995, the ex-president François Miterrand, shortly before passing away of cancer, gathered his friends for what was his last meal. The Ortolan Bunting was among the dishes.