We describe an approach for estimating occupancy rate or the proportion of area occupied when heterogeneity in detection probability exists as a result of variation in abundance of the organism under study. The key feature of such problems, which we exploit, is that variation in abundance induces variation in detection probability. Thus, heterogeneity in abundance can be modeled as heterogeneity in detection probability. Moreover, this linkage between heterogeneity in abundance and heterogeneity in detection probability allows one to exploit a heterogeneous detection probability model to estimate the underlying distribution of abundances. Therefore, our method allows estimation of abundance from repeated observations of the presence or absence of animals without having to uniquely mark individuals in the population.