discussion / Acoustic Monitoring  / 16 May 2023

Bat Identification Tools Comparison

Hello, does anyone have any experience comparing the results of Bat identification software for large batch processing? I would be processing significant amounts of audio recordings for automatic classification, and would be grateful for any insights you may have on comparing paid packages such as BTO acoustic pipeline and Kaleidoscope Pro. I'm interested only in UK bat species currently.

Thank you!

The BTO Acoustic Pipeline is free to use up to 100 GB / year (about 50 nights of triggered bat recording). I am not un-biased to comment on performance because I built the classifiers that are used by the Pipeline, but I would strongly recommend that you take a dataset (with everything - not just pulling out the best bat recordings) that you have taken time to manually check, put it through each option that you are considering, and critically compare the performance. 

In particular, the largest differences in performance between a good and more poorly performance classifier will be for some of the more cryptic species, so particularly focus on e.g. Myotis species, Plecotus species - if you are in an area where Brown and Grey long-eared bat are present. See how well the approach is able to identify multiple species if present in a wav file - is the classifier just identifying the species with the strongest calls, how well does it identify bat social calls / e.g.  is it mis-identifying Pipistrellus social calls as Nyctalus species , how well does it identify weak bat calls in noisy recordings (e.g. does it miss Barbastelle calls in recordings with bush-crickets), does it mis-identify small mammals calls as bats e.g. Brown rat calls as Nyctalus species.