A small species of frog reaching up to nearly 3 cm in body length. It has a brown, grey or cream-coloured back, with or without orange, brown and beige patches. There is a dark W-shaped marking on the upper back, a dark horizontal stripe between the eyes and pale yellow eye-spots on the lower back. There is sometimes a thin or broad longitudinal yellow stripe along the middle of the back. There is often also a pale triangular patch on the head. The belly is cream-coloured, grey or pale brown, with or without mottling. The pupil is horizontal and the iris is flecked with gold. Fingers and toes are unwebbed, both with small discs.
Found only in the southern Atherton Tablelands, Mt Bellenden Ker, Mt Bartle Frere, Tully, and Innisfail, all in the Wet Tropics region of QLD.
Eggs are laid on land as a small cluster connected by a thin jelly string among rocks, in soil bank holes and shallow burrows under leaf litter or 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.