It breeds in southern Turkey and southern Iran, and winters around the Red Sea in northeast Africa and Yemen. A few isolated populations just about maintain a foothold within European borders, on islands in the Aegean Sea. Cinereous Bunting breeds on dry stony mountain slopes. Its normal clutch is three eggs.
Cinereous Bunting is a large (16–17 cm), slim bunting with a long, white-cornered tail. It is less streaked than many buntings and has a thick pale bill. It has a greyish back with only subdued dark markings, and a browner tint to the wings.
The adult male's head is dull yellow, with a brighter moustachial line and throat. In the nominate race of southwest Turkey, the rest of the underparts are also yellow, but the eastern form E. c. semenowi has grey underparts.
Females are brownish grey above with a whitish throat and yellow only in the moustachial stripe. Young birds have a plain pale belly and streaking on the breast.
The call is a harsh tschrip, and the song is a hoarse zru- zru-zru-zru.
Cinereous Bunting feeds principally on seeds, like other buntings. It takes insects especially when feeding young.
This species was discovered by Hugh Edwin Strickland.