Wild parrots represent one of the greatest commercial interests in the legal trade in wild birds. Although it is difficult to quantify, there is a considerable illegal trade in wild parrots. Thirty-six per cent of the world's parrot species are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as threatened or near threatened, and 55% of these are threatened to some degree by trade. In this paper, we investigate the impact of protection on the number of nests that failed because of nestlings being taken by humans (hereafter nest take) and on nesting success in parrots. We collate data on parrot nest take from published and unpublished studies from Africa, Asia and Australasia, including countries and sites with and without national and local parrot protection measures in place. Nest take was insignificant in Australia, where all studies were from areas with both local and national protection. For less developed countries, levels of nest take were variable between studies, spanning the whole range from 0 to 100%. Protection significantly reduced nest take and correspondingly increased nesting success. Our results corroborate those for the Neotropics; thus, the advantages of protection appear to be independent of geographical location or political and economic conditions. We analysed data on legal trade in wild-caught parrots before and after implementation of the 1992 Wild Bird Conservation Act (which practically eliminated import of parrots to the USA) and found that there was no apparent shift in parrot imports to other global regions from the Neotropics. We suggest that conservation of parrots globally would benefit from similar legislation introduced in other regions, such as the EU (15), which is responsible for more than 60% of global imports of wild parrots.