Parrots are amongst the most beautiful and intelligent bird species in the world. They have been coveted as pets for centuries, particularly in the neo-tropics where they are heavily populated. Unfortunately, this has led to dramatic increases in parrot poaching over the last few decades, making parrots the most threatened bird species in the world. Despite laws against parrot poaching throughout the neo-tropics, the illegal trade continues while parrot populations further decline. This article reviews the literature on the players in the illegal parrot trade (i.e. poachers, itinerant fences, and market sellers), how poaching is largely committed, and which species are more at risk of becoming poached. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.