A distinctive, well patterned medium-sized barbet. Mostly black with a red patch on the forehead, a pale yellow stripe behind the eye, and heavy yellow markings on the back and belly. Found in humid forest at low and middle elevations. Somewhat similar to Hairy-breasted Barbet, but Yellow-spotted is smaller overall with a smaller bill and a red forehead. There are two vocalizations: a very fast, hollow trill and a much slower and lower-pitched series of several hoots. The trilling call seems to predominate in the eastern part of the range, and the hooting call in the west.