Mitochondrial genomes have proved to be powerful tools in resolving phylogenetic relationships. Emberiza chrysophrys (least concern species: IUCN 2013) is a passerine bird in the bunting family, Emberizidae. The complete mitochondrial genome of E. chrysophrys was sequenced. This circular mitochondrial genome was 16,803 bp in length, with an A+T content of 52.26%, containing 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs), two rRNAs, 22 tRNAs and a putative control region (CR). The CR of E. chrysophrys was divided into three conserved domains. Six conserved sequence boxes in the central conserved domain II were identified as F, E, D, C, b and B. An obvious positive AT-skew and negative GC-skew bias were found for all 28 genes encoded by the H strand, whereas it was the reverse in the remaining nine genes encoded by the L strand. Remarkable rate heterogeneity was present in the mitochondrial genome of E. chrysophrys. Notably, unusual slow rate of evolution in the mitochondrial CR of E. chrysophrys was detected, which is rarely seen in other birds. Phylogenetic analyses were carried out based on 13 PCGs that showed E. pusilla was the sister group of E. rustica, and the monophyly of Emberiza was established.