A bunting with cinnamon underparts, black-and-brown mottled upperparts, and a black-and-orange bill. The male’s head is boldly striped black-and-white, while the female’s head is less contrasting, with gray and buff stripes. Pairs prefer rocky outcrops, quarries, and gullies in arid and moist savanna and semi-desert, favoring open ground. The species is often detected by its grating song. The similar Gosling’s Bunting differs from Cinnamon-breasted Bunting by having a gray (not black) throat; birds in northern Ethiopia/Eritrea may be part of a hybrid swarm. House Bunting has a streaked (not solid) throat and breast.