Automatic detection of flamingos using marked point processes

Click here to begin the demo.

For more information on this research topic see the INRIA research report (here).
To get the code of FLAMINGO software (CeCILL C) send a mail to J. Zerubia (


Here we present a new technique to automatically detect and count breeding Greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) on aerial photographs of their colonies. We consider a stochastic approach based on object processes also called marked point processes. Here, the objects represent flamingos which are defined as ellipses. The density associated with the marked point process of ellipses is defined w.r.t the Poisson measure. Thus, the issue is reduced to an energy minimization, where the energy is composed of a regularization term (prior density), which introduces some constraints on the objects and their interactions, and a data term, which links the objects to the features to be extracted in the image. Then, we sample the process to extract the configuration of objects minimizing the energy by a new fast birth-and-death dynamics, leading to the total number of birds. This approach gives counts with good precision compared to manual counts. Additionally, this approach does not need image pre-processing or supervision of the extraction thus considerably reducing the overall processing time required to get the estimate.


We would like to thank the foundation Tour Du Valat, Arles, France, for providing the data. This work has been partially funded by the INRIA Sophia Antipolis with a COLOR "Flamants".

Stig Descamps 2008-03-20