A small species of frog reaching up to nearly 3 cm in body length. It has a grey or brown back, with or without orange or red patches. There is sometimes a longitudinal stripe along the middle of the back, and often pale yellow eye-spots on the lower back. There is a black stripe from behind the eye to the side. The belly is white, with red and orange patches and also black specks. The pupil is horizontal, and the iris is grey-blue in the upper half and dark brown in the lower half. The armpits, groin, and back of the thighs are sometimes orange. Fingers and toes are unwebbed, with larger finger discs than toe discs.
Looks similar to Cophixalus aenigma in its distribution, but has a different belly colour.
Found only on Thornton Peak, in the Wet Tropics region of QLD. It is threatened by habitat disturbance from tourist developments and global warming.
Eggs are laid on land as a small cluster connected by a thin jelly string under rocks and in wet soil. The nest is guarded by the male, as it is with other Cophixalus species. Tadpoles never swim in water; instead they develop entirely inside the egg and hatch as little frogs. It is unknown how long they take to develop into frogs, but Cophixalus ornatus eggs have been recorded taking 28 days to hatch. Breeds during spring to summer after rain.