The goal of the Cacophony Project is to create products that accelerate the rate at which we can make New Zealand predator free. We currently have the following products available:

  • Cacophonometer: sound recording device for monitoring bird numbers
  • Data management and analysis tools

We are a non-profit registered charity and our goal is not to make and sell services long term but to show how technology can help to solve the problem of invasive predators in New Zealand. We are always looking for companies who want take the solutions we have built to create businesses to roll them out around New Zealand and the world. Contact us for more details.


This device is a specially configured mobile phone that makes regular audio recordings and uploads them to the cloud for later analysis. We believe this product is the lowest cost way of getting an objective long term trend of bird numbers.

These devices are now available in limited numbers for purchase. This is not yet a polished product and should be considered primarily of interest to early adopters. To encourage distribution of devices around New Zealand, pricing is on a cost basis.

See this accompanying blog post for more details.

Type Details Cost
Own build If you have an old android phone you can try installing and setup yourself. You need some technical skills (see the documentation. $0
Mains powered + Wifi This includes a phone, microphone, and waterproof box. If you have a location that has both power and WiFi coverage then this is the easiest cheapest way to get going. 20 units are available. $150
Mains powered + Spark This is as per the WiFi option above but includes a SIM for connecting to the Spark network. If you have a location with power and Spark network coverage then this is the next easiest option. Mobile data is provided by Spark for initial test sites. 20 units are available. $180
Solar powered This device can go anywhere where there is reliable sun. The device can store 3 months of recordings onboard (2 years if a 32GB memory card is installed) or can connect to the Spark network. 5 units are available. $390

To order a Cacophonometer, please email

Documentation for the Cacophonometer is available here.

Birdsong monitoring device on solar power

Data Management and Analysis

The Cacophonometer and our thermal video devices tag the recordings they collect with metadata and upload them to the Cacophony Project API server. From there these recordings can be accessed by a web interface which allows for the following:

  • Playing sound and video recordings.
  • Query of recordings using a variety of criteria.
  • AI classification of videos into rats, stoats, possums, hedgehogs, birds etc. These classifications will get better as more footage of predators are added to our training set.
  • Ability to easily tag videos to improve the learning over time.

In the future we'll look to add more features such as:

  • Graphical summaries of predator numbers
  • Graphical summaries of bird numbers
  • Daily weekly summaries comparing to other parts of NZ
  • Mapping tools to see trend in different parts of NZ

There is also an API available to allow external software to query, download and analyse recordings.

There are currently hundreds of thousands of video and sound recordings captured from natural environments around NZ that are not able to be analysed in any systematic way as they are not collected in a central place. Manual analysis is very time consuming so data management is a key part of the project.

Cost - this is currently free due to the supporters of Cacophony project with special thanks to Spark and CCL.