The breeding male has a chestnut body, and grey head with darker streaking and a white supercilium and moustachial streak. The female's head has a brown tint to the grey, and more diffused streaking. The striolated bunting has stronger facial striping and a paler belly than the north African house bunting.
It is a resident breeder of dry country from the Canary Islands, east through south-west Asia to north-western India.
It breeds usually close to streams, laying two to four eggs in a nest on the ground or in a hole in the ground. Its natural food consists of seeds, or when feeding young, insects. The breeding range of the bird in India has been noted in recent times to include more southerly locations such as near Saswad near Pune. The incubation period of the clutch of three eggs is 14 days.