A small species of frog reaching up to nearly 2 cm in body length. It has a brown, pale brown or grey back, with brown or black flecks. There is sometimes a pale longitudinal stripe along the middle of the back, pale eye-spots on the lower back, and a V-shaped or W-shaped marking on the upper back. There is a black stripe from along the side. The belly is cream-coloured or grey, with brown flecks. The pupil is horizontal and the iris is gold. Fingers and toes are unwebbed, both with small discs. The first finger is very short compared to the rest.
Looks similar to Crinia deserticola, Crinia remota, Uperoleia altissima, Uperoleia mimula, and Uperoleia lithmoda in its distribution, but none of these species occupy rainforest habitat. Also looks similar to Cophixalus hosmeri, but has a slightly different distribution, a different call, and a distinct black stripe along the side.
Found only on the Mt Windsor Tableland in the Wet Tropics region of QLD.
Eggs are laid as a small cluster connected by a thin jelly string on land under rocks and logs. 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.