The Red-headed Barbet is a spectacularly colored, small barbet of montane forest. The male's brilliant red head and breast contrast with the green upperparts and horn-colored bill. The female lacks the red, and has pearly blue-gray cheeks. This species is conspicuous as it moves about middle and upper strata with mixed flocks or feeds in fruiting trees. Its song, a purring trill, is also loud and distinctive. The Red-headed Barbet feeds primarily on fruit, but also take arthropods, which it sometimes gathers by searching through dead leaf clusters. The nest is an enlarged woodpecker cavity or a self-excavated hole in a rotting tree.