Large, stocky bunting with a long tail. Rusty-red head and yellow body easily identify the breeding male; non-breeding male has restricted red on the head and a streaky brown back. Female and juvenile are pale brown with streaked back and wings; these plumages can be nearly impossible to separate from Black-headed Bunting. Look out for Red-headed’s less extensive crown streaking, less “compact” appearance (longer-billed and longer-tailed), less yellow underparts, and colder back coloration. Breeds in open dry spaces with scattered bushes; winters in agricultural fields. Song starts out with a few dry, rasping notes, then turns into a more fluid-sounding jumble.