The New International Encyclopædia/Ortolan
ORTOLAN (Fr. ortolan, from It. ortulano, ortolan, gardener, from Lat. hortulanus, gardener, from hortus, garden). A European bunting (Emberiza hortulana) having a plumage of mixed browns, black, and white. It appears in the autumn in great flocks on both coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, when it returns from its summer home and breeding places in the far north. No bird is so highly esteemed by epicures, and vast numbers are used for the table. It is taken chiefly by nets. See Plate of Buntings.
In America the name is given to both the bobolink (‘reed-bird’) and the sora-rail, neither of which has the slightest relation to an ortolan, but both of which are small birds, much sought after in the fall in the Middle States, as a delicacy.