Bornaviruses cause neurologic diseases in several species of birds, especially parrots, waterfowl and finches. The characteristic lesions observed in these birds include encephalitis and gross dilatation of the anterior stomach — the proventriculus. The disease is thus known as proventricular dilatation disease (PDD). PDD is characterized by extreme proventricular dilatation, blockage of the passage of digesta and consequent death by starvation. There are few clinical resemblances between this and the bornaviral encephalitides observed in mammals. Nevertheless, there are common virus-induced pathogenic pathways shared across this disease spectrum that are explored in this review. Additionally, a review of the literature relating to gastroparesis in humans and the control of gastric mobility in mammals and birds points to several plausible mechanisms by which bornaviral infection may result in extreme proventricular dilatation.