Illegal wildlife trade is one of the major threats to Neotropical psittacids, with nearly 28% of species targeted for the illegal pet trade. We analysed the most comprehensive data set on illegal wildlife trade currently available for Venezuela, from various sources, to provide a quantitative assessment of the magnitude, scope and detectability of the trade in psittacids at the national level. We calculated a specific offer index (SO) based on the frequency of which each species was offered for sale. Forty-seven species of psittacids were traded in Venezuela during 1981–2015, of which 17 were non-native. At least 641,675 individuals were traded, with an overall extraction rate of 18,334 individuals per year (35 years of accumulated reports). Amazona ochrocephala was the most frequently detected species (SO = 3.603), with the highest extraction rate (10,544 individuals per year), followed by Eupsittula pertinax (SO = 1.357) and Amazona amazonica (SO = 1.073). Amazona barbadensis, Ara ararauna and Ara chloropterus were the fourth most frequently detected species (SO = 0.564–0.615). Eleven species were involved principally in domestic trade (> 60% of records). Our approach could be the first step in developing a national monitoring programme to inform national policy on the trade in psittacids. Patterns and numbers provided may be used to update the official list of threatened species, and could also be used in planning conservation actions.