A chunky green barbet with diagnostic red over its entire face, forehead, throat, and breast. It has a diffuse blue band on the sides of the head and breast, while a thick black traverse band separates the blue parts from the red. Some faint streaking visible below on an otherwise green ground color. Juvenile is duller green, lacks the prominent face pattern of the adult, sports a gray band instead of blue, and shows some yellow among the red feathers. Juvenile is best told from a juvenile Coppersmith Barbet by its unstreaked underparts. Malabar Barbet is heard more often than seen. Its call is a fast paced “kuk-kuk-kuk,” doubtfully separable from that of a Coppersmith by its sometimes slightly faster pace. Malabar sticks to the wetter jungles of the Western Ghats and does not occupy the drier or more open habitats of the Coppersmith, though in some localities both species co-occur.