The brown-and-gray head of this barbet sets it apart from the bright facial patterns of most other species. Specks of blue, red, and yellow on the face are visible at close range. Body is emerald green with some tan-yellow hints on the underside and a red vent. Pale lower bill and pale throat give the head an oddly long appearance. Inhabits forests from lowland regions up into montane areas. Gives succinct mellow whistles at regular intervals, typically from sheltered perches up in the forest canopy.